As if it were an action film directed by Ingmar Bergman, "The Grey" trades the mindless action of films like "Taken" or "Unknown" for something far more serious. This Liam Neeson thriller follows him as he faces off against wolves; he and his team of drillers lost in the arctic and faced with nothing but certain death. It may seem like this is a standard actioner, simply trading beasts for the Eastern Europeans Neeson beat on in his previous successes. But instead, director Joe Carnahan uses the bloodthirsty dogs as something far greater than just villains: he uses them as a symbol of man’s inevitable death.
Indeed, this may come as a shock, but I assure you it’s true: this is not a film about Liam Neeson punching things, this is a film about Liam Neeson coming to grips with the silence of God - or the absence of him. It’s not the scenes staring down wolves you’ll come out remembering (though they will haunt you,) it’s the scenes where Neeson invokes screaming matches with the empty skies. And considering the tragic loss of Neeson’s wife years ago (evoked painfully in this film through vague flashbacks surely meant to confuse the line between fiction and reality) these cries asking for meaning or purpose only pierce the viewer further.
"The Grey" arrives on Blu-ray with a gorgeous transfer; keeping total fidelity to the films original theatrical presentation. But it’s also filled with a number of deleted scenes - all of which shed further light on the admirably three-dimensional characters - as well as an audio commentary running over the film itself. Those looking for mindless action need not apply to this one. But for those who enjoy the subtext of violence and chaos as much as the visceral visuals, "The Grey" is for you.
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