|'It's an even trade off. Gone is the stock version of this film (scene after scene of wolf battles) and in its place something more philosophical. The result is still fairly average.'|
Praised for tacking lofty themes on to a standard action plot, The Grey looks into the void and ultimately draws a great deal of its titular colour. Director Joe Carnahan adds considerations of God, faith and 'afterwards' in to his 'Liam Neeson vs Wolves' actioner but keeps us staring at it for far too long, populating his colourless narrative with stark character stereotypes and hackneyed dialogue. It's an even trade off. Gone is the stock version of this film (scene after scene of wolf battles) and in its place something more philosophical. The result is still fairly average.
Sign number one that we are still in standard territory is Frank Grillo's Diaz, the member of the group contractually obliged to be a bit of a dick at every opportunity possible. Diaz is needed to inject some drama into a collective which seems lacking in it, despite the fact that their aircraft has just fallen out of the sky. With him The Grey is rather annoying. Without him there's a tangible lack of conflict. More focus on the man vs elements battle could have solved the problem without the need to resort to a Diaz.
Better is the anchoring performance from Liam Neeson, undermined though he is by his constant repetition of a poem which doesn't seem to say anything. Neeson has, somehow, at the age of sixty, become the go to action man when more than action is needed and his solid repertoire of stoicism and hints of deeper emotion help the film to at least try to keep your attention.
It does, just, but one hundred and seventeen minutes of staring into the void is a long stare indeed, the temptation constantly there to blink and turn away. More wolf fights would have done this the world of good.
'The Grey proceeds forward with the same grim determination as its characters, the spectre of death hanging over it from beginning to end.' - The Flick Chick