The Grey (2012): Review

Is there ever a better match up than Liam Neeson and a good solid action flick? This reviewer thinks not and this is exactly what we have here. However, Joe Carnahan’s latest offering, The Grey is a lot more than the formulaic paint by numbers action movie.

The Grey focuses on a group of men working away from home in the Alaskan oil fields. On their way back to safety, the worst happens and the plane the unlucky fellows are travelling in crashes in spectacular fashion. The crash in the first sequence of the movie is absolutely stunning and one of the best I’ve seen on the silver screen; it even makes the plane crash in the original Final Destination look tame.

The survivors of the plane crash include Neeson’s Alpha male character John Ottway and those of you familiar with the Irishman’s style of acting will know what to expect here; there’s a quiet sense of foreboding throughout and this only adds to the tension which is creatively built up throughout the 117 minute running time.

The team soon realise that they’re being stalked by a pack of hungry wolves that are, shall we say, less than happy about the intruders wandering around their territory and in the usual thriller style, they’re picked off one, by one.

The other male leads include Frank Grillo as the disobedient John Diaz and Joe Anderson as outsider, Todd Flannery. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, the other actors get lost behind Neeson’s commanding performance, one of the best of his career in fact.

Dialogue and plot generally take a back seat to the scares in this genre of film but thankfully Carnahan and his writing team demand audience respect for these characters and for the most part, it all works and ties together nicely. Ottway is a deeply troubled and desperately unhappy man who on occasions has tried to take his own life. However, once coming face to face with the snarling jaws of a grey wolf, he soon realises that running and fighting for his life is perhaps the best course of action.

Naturally, the Alaskan wilderness provides an eerie and mesmerising setting (there’s not a green screen in sight) and Carnahan cracks up the tension fantastically by not being obvious in his editing. The shots of the CGI and puppet wolves are integrated very well and apart from a few shoddy scenes where it becomes a little obvious they’re not real , the outcome is deeply disturbing and the animals look 100% believable.

Overall, The Grey is everything a thrilling creature feature should be. Director, Joe Carnahan, racks up tension on every occasion physically possible and grabs the audience with beautiful Alaskan scenery dispersed amidst the chaos. Liam Neeson really steals the show with a commanding and heart-wrenching performance whilst his co-stars do well, despite being overshadowed.

The special effects and plot all have depth and this ensures The Grey has enough bite to keep even the most difficult audiences entertained. Yes, it’s a little too long for the genre, but you don’t feel this whilst watching because of how well the film has been crafted. It really is a must watch.


Scoring /10





Special Effects/Cinematography




Costume Design






Overall: An exceptionally bleak film that’s well worth a watch.

8 thoughts on “The Grey (2012): Review

  1. That’s an exceptionally generous review. For myself I just couldn’t suspend disbelief, especially regarding the Dire Wolves. Liam Neeson is on point here, but I just didn’t care for the total package.

    • Hello there,
      Thanks for commenting. First of all, may I just say that this is not one of my best reviews; after reading through it again, the writing still needs work.

      However, I still find the film exceptionally intense and there were many moments where I was literally on the edge of my seat.

      Thank you for your comment. Adam.

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