Death & The Grey

Last night I watched The Grey (2012) starring Liam Neeson. Set in a howling blizzard no-man's land version of Alaska, The Grey is basically about a group of men who survive a plane crash in the middle of Alaska and struggle to survive as they're attacked by hunger, bad weather, and some huge, pissed off wolves. Think classic Jack London meets Alien (Ridley Scott co-produced) meets The Thing meets, uh, a hellish version of Dances With Wolves.

First off, I'll just say wolves get a pretty bad wrap in the film (in fact, they come off as way, way more terrifying than one would think possible) but hopefully the audience for this stark survival film will be smart enough to realize they're such bad asses for the sake of the movie and don't really need to be hunted back to the edge of extinction in real life.

Second, the wolves, and the brutal Alaska tundra, are really just freaky stand-ins for death itself. Encroaching death, relentless death, death that can come for you in a sudden moment or as gradually as frostbite. By putting these oil riggers through frozen hell on Earth, The Grey is thrusting its audience into the classic "what would you do to survive?" and "how long could you last?" thought games.

And so as death tightens its grip on these flawed and stranded men, we witness their various coping methods with their bleak circumstances, from anger to defiance to acceptance to a beautifully eerie acceptance of the Grey, which comes to everyone, sooner or later, no matter how many wolves you punch.


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