The Grey

Do you like death ? Wish to explore the multiple ways of horrible and grizzly death while Liam Neeson makes cryptically insightful thoughts about fighting the invisible enemy of life? You may enjoy the new movie ‘The Grey‘.

This is easily the most ponderously depressing movie one could see. The story is about death and the fight that leads up to it. Taken directly, it’s about a bunch of survivors from a plane that crashes into the frozen Alaskan wilderness who, unsuccessfully, defend themselves from blood thirsty wolves. Taken in abstract form, this movie is about a bunch of survivors from a plane that crashes into the frozen Alaskan wilderness who, unsuccessfully, defend themselves from blood thirsty wolves while Liam Neeson provides philosophical and fatalistic monologues in his faintly masked Irish accent.

That is not to say it was a bad movie. Every scene was crafted with the impending doom just lurking around the corner with the majestic snow-covered mountains of British Columbia, where the movie was filmed, providing a sense of true presence in that wilderness. Snow storms are bone chilling and the wolves are as murderous as they are cunning. The sound track made everyone in the theater jump more than a few times. Although Neeson’s monologue’s seem to stretch forever, for the keen ear it was a delight to follow, process and realize the meaning of those spoken words. The characters don’t dwell on the usual phases of character development, like introductions and personal conflict. They are revealed in morbidly touching moments throughout the movie as the stranded human pack fights for every surviving hour.

For someone who is more introverted than the average friday-night-movie-saturday-night-party person this film serves up some penetrating thoughts on life and all the struggle that comes with it. It seems like life is this one big battle field where forces unknown are always on the offense. Some battles are won and some are lost but the significant point is that one shows up for the fight because that is only thing which is under one’s control. The movie makes a point of people dying for no real reason while the rest of them march on. Some get killed by wolves, some die of frost bite and some fall down a cliff. Some fight till the bitter end and then give up when they can take no more, while others recite an Irish poem from childhood and then pounce on a rabid alpha of a wolf pack in their own freaking den.

Throughout the story, Neeson’s quest is to get as far as possible from the wolves’ den and into safety but in an unfortunate and all too realistic turn of events he wanders straight in to the last place he wished to be. The ending did not provide closure, but in a way it was fitting because, I thought, it does not really matter whether he killed the pack alpha or not. The fact that he took on the beast instead of giving up is the real and endearing point of the story.

This is probably one of the most morbidly dark movie made about loneliness and death and yet the takeaway is to always fight on; no matter if it’s a fight for life or fighting life itself.

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