Liam Neeson needs no introduction. I’ve always think that he has this very distinguished voice that I could easily imagined myself in a state of trance just by listening to him talking about, well, anything. Anyway, he was Aslan, he trained Obi-Wan Kenobi, he led the A-Team, and he trained Batman. He may never be a James Bond but honestly, if James Bond needs a license to kill, he could take down a known political figure on a live television, in front of millions and still would get away with it. He is such a badass that when “The Grey” trailer showed that it was Liam Neeson barehanded against a wolf, I was sold immediately. Heck, it got me at “Liam.”
“The Grey” is men against nature movie and the last time I was so impressed with men against nature genre is with “The Way Back.” But while “The Way Back” is more drama and calmer in demeanor, “The Grey” is grimmer, colder and by result, I’m liking it a tad more. Not to mention that there’s this Liam Neeson factor. It should be noted though, that the dangers in “The Grey” are more often than not, hinted rather than showed. But I daresay that it was more effective that way and by date, “The Grey” is I think, the best Joe Carnaghan movie. By far.
I’m skipping the plot narrative here as it would be best to enjoy it by oneself. The movie, as was the usual with a movie in such genre, switches back and forth between thrill period, where the men were faced off with struggles and dangers and calm period, expertly placed to provide a moment’s respite and to kept the most important element from this movie alive to keep it relevant for a more attentive viewers. Hope. Understandably, as the movie progresses, I’m more and more drawn toward the calm periods that this movie has to offer. It’s easy to ruin these periods but “The Grey” had done a great job in treating them. Here, in these periods, the movie gave its characters a life and they are uniformly, for the better. For example, a character that was once considered a dead weight, turns out to be more sophisticated and not just a one dimensional bastard I thought he was. And no characters are left behind. Even if some characters had a different (shorter) screen time, for me personally, I had invested interest to each character and therefore made a character’s loss is that much harder and not just a guessing game of “who died next.”
It is surprising. Pleasantly surprising because I had thought that Liam Neeson would carries this movie alone. Even if he is still, a considerable character, an established de-facto leader of the men (you can’t argue against that voice. No you can’t), and receives a top billing (and the only name to appears on the movie’s poster), in the end he is only one of the men and not significantly more important than any one of them. Therefore I really liked how Joe Canaghan and his writers had done for the characters in this movie. How important they are, you ask? I could name all of the movie’s characters because I had taken an effort to actually memorized them. That is how important these characters are for me. Even one of the most memorable scenes from this movie for me is not Liam Neeson’s scene.
But of course, you can’t argue on how beautiful Liam Neeson’s final scene is. And I really liked how the movie chose to ends itself. Some would be disappointed with it. But I would not rate this movie higher had it ends any other way.