The Grey (2011)


run time: 117 mins
rated: 14A
considered: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
director: Joe Carnahan
starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray, Anne Opsenshaw

movie summary: An oil company employees John Ottway (Liam Neeson) to carry a rifle around the oil patch grounds to kill any wild animals that present a danger to the workers. His quick thinking, survival skills, and knowledge of the land will come in handy when a plane carrying a whole group of workers crash in the middle of the wilderness and a pack of blood thirsty wolves are in pursuit.

A day prior to leaving the oil patch John contemplates suicide because he misses his wife and can’t stand his job or life anymore. He decides not to shot himself and board the small airplane with a dozen or so other rig workers where he doesn’t make any friends. During the long flight John falls asleep only to be woken up when half the plane breaks off and they crash in the middle of no where.

John immediately takes control of the situation while finding survivors and treating the wounded. He instructs the few guys who survived to build a fire to keep warm. During the night a huge wolf attacks and kill one of the survivors before turning his eyes towards the group, thankfully the fire separates the man from beast but the guys now have to take turn on watch. During the night the wolves strike again tipping the odds in their favour. John recommends the group pack up and head across the lands into the forest where they can climb trees, have shelter from the cold, and have a defense against the wolves who will be coming back.

On their trek towards the woods a handful of wolves attack the guy who is dragging behind everyone else. When the group finally make it to the forest there is only Diaz (Frank Grillo), Talget (Dermot Mulroney), and Hendrick (Dallas Roberts) and John. An omega wolf comes within a few feet from the group and their fire but doesn’t survive his attempt to scare the guys. They kill and eat him which only pisses the other wolves off who circle the group and howl throughout the night. In the morning while trekking through the woods the guys hear a river so travel towards the sound of running water. Only problem is the river is several hundred feet down a ravine and the wolves are only a few hundred yards behind. The guys decide to cross the ravine where some of them make it and some don’t.

John manages to survive up to this point while his friends keep dying so he is left to fight the whole pack of wolves on his own. He recites a poem his dad used to tell him about living or dying on this day while preparing whatever weapons he can as the wolves circle him and the battle for his life begins.


my thoughts: Way back in 2012 a buddy and I were suppose to go see the movie Contraband when the theatre had projector problems so we had to go see something else. We choose the Grey without knowing anything about it and left somewhat disappointed. Fast forward to late last year and a different buddy of mine told me he just bought the Grey and loved it. I borrowed it and watched it for the second time and once again found it to be very frustrating at the end.

Last week I watched it again on Netflix thinking it wasn’t as bad as the previous times. I must have been in a good mood because I finally accepted what was being presented to me. I love movies based in cold isolated places and the Grey presents that and more. Liam Neeson is fantastic as a know it all guy who will take charge of the situation who has to be at his best to survive under the harshest conditions. In a role he is now famous for, Neeson will find the wolves and he will kill them. There is a deeper message here about not giving up on life when times get tough that I didn’t really understand or appreciated before.

The best aspect of this movie is the man against nature angle, both weather and animals. A group of untrained men ended up in the worse possible situation and do their best to survive. Everyone has to be quick on their feet while putting their differences aside to survive against a pack of thirsty wolves. I know if I was ever in this type of situation I would be one of the first one dead because I have no survival skills, and should the zombie apocalypse ever happen I won’t be around to write anymore movie reviews.

The Grey will lead on a chase through the wilderness that will leave you on the edge of your seat. You will be find yourself yelling at the screen to get the guys to hurry up and to fight back but in situations like this it will always be the survival of the fittest.

If you don’t like the way the movie ends, just fast forward to the end of the credits and you will find out what happens during the final epic battle.

my star rating: 7 out 10 6.8 out 10 79% out 100%
metascore: 64/100

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6 thoughts on “The Grey (2011)

    1. Thanks Drew, I was really pissed at the ending and wasn’t smart enough to stay for the credits. Watching it again was a more enjoyable experience after I see what happens.

  1. Good review Ryan. A lot more than just a thriller. It’s a human-drama, that just so happens to have moments of thrills and chills sprinkled throughout.

    1. Thanks Dan. It took a few times to actually like this movie but it was worth the effort because there was so many things I wanted to like about it.

  2. I loved this movie the first time I saw it. It remains the great Liam Neeson performance of the last decade. Very thoughtful and of suspense. I had no problem with the ending or the stinger. I’m glad it is growing on you.

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