THRILLER; 1hr 57min
STARRING: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale, Frank Grillo
Under the gun: Neeson
Wintry chiller The Grey opens with a panning shot of the forbidding wooded Alaskan mountains where an oil-drilling team is based. Neeson is the image of desolation as Ottway, inconsolable over a lost love. And far worse is to follow when an horrific plane crash leaves a handful of surviving workers stranded in blizzard-swept snow. If the diabolical cold doesn’t kill them, the lurking wolves surely will, for this is their territory and they don’t take kindly to interlopers.
Ottway, who was hired as a sniper to fend off the creatures and so has a sense of their feral psyches, becomes the ad hoc leader of the frightened men. Their plight is shocking, the wolves more monstrous than any otherworldly demon, and director and co-writer Joe Carnahan — who also worked with Neeson on The A-Team — spares them not one second. They’re up for it: the actors make a strong ensemble with the nexus of Neeson’s performance seeming wrenched from a deeply lonely place. But in the white-knuckle dynamic of holding on, who these men are is of less significance than the lengths to which they’re driven in a Hell’s own landscape of pure, unendurable beauty.