BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Grey
Liam Neeson continues to show why he's the manliest man around...
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Liam Neeson is a bad ***. The guy makes mince meat of out his daughter's kidnappers in Taken, he wrecks havoc on those who steal his identity in Unknown, and in the actor's most recent film to hit home video, The Grey, he takes on depression, a plane crash in Alaska, and a pack of man-eating wolves. If anyone deserves an award for simply being the manliest man around, it's Liam Neeson. Of course, it's in no small part thanks to brilliant writing and direction from Joe Carnahan, whose body of work includes NARC, Smokin' Aces, and The A-Team, that Neeson stands out in this suspense-filled drama.
Ottway (Neeson) works in Alaska, helping protect rig workers from the territorial wolves who stalk the oil fields. A crack shot with a rifle, Ottway is a loner and quiet man like many of the former convicts and ruffians who find their way into working on the rigs. When a plane full of rig workers crash lands in the Alaskan wilderness, Ottway finds himself leading the survivors as they battle hunger, cold, one another, and wolves.
Traditionally, there are three types of conflict in literature and film: man versus man, man versus wild, man versus himself. The Grey features a unique take on all three and combines them all by interweaving the dramatic development of each, helping the viewer understand Ottway's perspective. Ottway is a strong, resilient, and hardened man. However, he's also defeated and broken. From his perspective, his life isn't worth living...until given proper purpose. And, as ironic as it sounds, that purpose is simply to continue to live and help others live. When this happens and Ottway realizes what must be done, he - like most Alpha males - doesn't know when to quit.
Featuring a bold and engaging soundtrack by Marc Streitenfeld (Robin Hood and Prometheus) and pulse-pounding sound effects, the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix throttles fans with plenty of dynamic audio. The dialogue is clear and present as is each and every scream and howl. Likewise, the beautiful 1080p video transfer provides a beautiful pallet on which to build. Thanks to the gorgeous cinematography by Masanobu Takayanagi (Warrior), The Grey looks like what one would expect the Alaskan wilderness to look like: harsh, angry, and brutal.
The two-disc set includes the film both on blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy for those who wish to enjoy it anywhere. As for special features, the set includes a solid, in-depth and enjoyable feature commentary with writer/director Joe Carnahan and editors Roger Barton and Jason Hellmann. The trio chat up the film's production, the arduous shooting climate, and some technical specifics as well as the film's ending, which will no doubt become a topic of discussion and controversy amongst viewers. Other special features include 20+ minutes of deleted scenes.
The Grey is no doubt destined to one of the most popular "guy movies" of 2012. The film's understated, discernible conflict doesn't come fully to fruition until after the credits roll and a final scene runs, which sheds some light on the filmmaker's intentions while still leaving the film's outcome up to individual interpretation. Neither wholly an action, drama, or suspense film, The Grey expertly combines all three genre and tells a unique tale that's both heart-wrecking, emotionally-charged, and dramatic.
The Grey is rated R for violence/disturbing content including bloody images, and for pervasive language and is available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley