Thursday, February 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Grey

The most profound moment in The Grey (for me) is a scene that turns metaphysical/philosophical. The main protagonist, in a a moment of abject despair, cries out to God for help and receives no answer.

Ottway (Liam Neeson) is employed by an oil rig in Alaska to kill off animals that may endanger the workers. The men on the rig are tough and living in a tough environment. Ottway becomes stranded with a group of brawling, beer swilling, violent group of men after a plane crash lands in the middle of nowhere. Unused to being vulnerable, they struggle to survive whilst trying to maintain their tough exteriors - for a while at least. Their common enemies, the environment and territory defending wolves, bring them together in ways that strip them raw - physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

The story is a pretty straightforward survival narrative. But Neeson brings a power and presence that lifts it into the extraordinary and riveting. And when the story turns briefly to its metaphysical themes - without fanfare or preachiness - the viewer is confronted with the age old question - if God is all-powerful and loving, then why doesn't God do something in our deepest need?

The answer that is given will be completely unsatisfactory for most Christians (it is contained in a quote from Ottway's father) but the question cannot be avoided.

The Grey is a forceful, hard hitting experience. But its power comes as one looks back over the story from the view of the pivotal moment I've referred to and the final scene. And the question about how one should live life in the context of a silent (or non-existent) God lingers long after the final credits roll.

PS: Stay to the end of the credits for a final scene!

You will probably like this movie if you liked The Flight of the Phoenix, The Crash of Flight 401, The Edge, Vertical Limit

Positive review

'It's a fine, tough little movie, technically assured and brutally efficient, with a simple story that ventures into some profound existential territory without making a big fuss about it.' - A O Scott/The New York Times

Negative review

'Neeson is always compelling, even in a movie as ridiculous as The Grey.' - Rene Rodriguez/Miami Herald

AUS: MA15+




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