If you've never survived a plane crash only to be pursued by a pack of bloodthirsty wolves whilst bracing a bitter Alaskan blizzard, tired, afraid and hungry, you need to see The Grey. It may not be as informative as Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls, but it's fascinating in a White Fang meets Alive kind of way.
Liam Neeson joins The A-Team director Joe Carnahan again to bring us a survival adventure and thriller comparable with The Edge starring Anthony Hopkins. The Grey, based on the short story Ghost Walker by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, offers a harrowing yet thought-provoking account of how seven oil workers struggle to keep hope alive after surviving a plane crash.
The Grey follows a fairly formulaic horror plot as a struggle for leadership, solidarity and survival play out. Neeson is at his usual best as Ottway, a huntsman confronting the grey of his own mortality and the meaning of life as man is pitted against the wild. Carnahan's survival adventure adds depth with ethereal and momentary flashbacks, but the horror treatment and routine predictability of the wolf attacks is less convincing.
The glimpse into Ottway's state of mind makes The Grey more philosophically challenging than your conventional survival adventure, but the paint-by-numbers storytelling and genre-hopping wolves leave this film adaptation ironically in the grey with a make-or-break ending with a snippet after the credits.
The bottom line: Promising