Line between drama and comedy ‘Grey’ in new hit film

"The Grey," starring Liam Neeson as Ottway, combines the classic movie genres of psychological thriller and male-oriented comedy in one winter hit. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

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Though the line between dark comedy and dramatic thriller may be a little fuzzy in director Joe Carnahan’s newest film The Grey, this film’s one-liners and fearsome jumps are sure to entertain audiences from multiple angles.

Based on co-screenwriter Ian Mackenzie Jeffers’ short story “Ghost Walker,” which apparently is hidden in the depths of cult literature, The Grey stars Liam Neeson as Ottway in classic, ass-kicking form. He’s battled the Dark Side in The Phantom Menace, pimps in Taken and now in his latest film he takes on a vicious pack of wolves in the outskirts of Alaska.

Beginning at the site of an oil drilling camp at “the end of the Earth” in Alaska, the audience follows Ottway in his daily work activities – working as a wild animal sniper to protect the oil drilling crew. After shooting a wolf prowling around the work areas, he rubs its belly in a comforting manner as it takes its dying breaths, showing Ottway’s compassion animal life.

The loss of his wife (played by Anne Openshaw) and a job in the middle of nowhere has caused a deep depression to wash over Ottway. He decides to take his own life as an escape, but stops when he hears howling in the distance.

His failed suicide attempt is shortly followed by a plane trip back to civilization, but en route he becomes one of the victims to a traumatic crash in the Alaskan tundra. Very few passengers live through the crash, but the few that do band together to try to make it to safety.

Not only are the elements in the cruel artic winter against them, but the survivors soon find out that the natives of the area – a large pack of vicious wolves – will stop at nothing to eliminate them from their territory.

Ottway has spent his career with the oil drilling team hunting animals that approach workers in order to keep them safe, but now the tables have turned. The survivors of the crash struggle to fend off the dangerous wolves that are hunting them, picking off the humans one by one.

One of the biggest criticisms of this film will most likely be the fact that despite its psychologically thrilling trailer, the film seesaws between humor and action.

To say that the characters are rough around the edges and use stereotypical male humor and antics is an understatement. When they aren’t running for their lives, the group spends their time making lewd comments and bagging on each other, but that is what gives the film the element of reality.

Some of the high points of the film include the cinematography – you’ll feel like you’re also weathering the storm – and the musical score by Marc Streitenfeld, which engages the audience’s emotions as well.

Memorable supporting role performances are given by Openshaw, Dallas Roberts as Hendrick, Frank Grillo as Diaz and Ben Bray as Hernandez, but they are far outshone by Neeson’s performance. His acting spans the emotional spectrum in The Grey and is likely to be a popular choice for movie goers this winter.

"The Grey," starring Liam Neeson as Ottway, combines the classic movie genres of psychological thriller and male-oriented comedy in one winter hit. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

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