By Todd A. Smith
Ottway (Liam Neeson) is at a crossroads in life. He has lost the woman he loves and is forced to work at an Alaskan petroleum plant with drifters and ex-convicts. He even contemplates suicide, putting a shotgun in his mouth, feeling that he does not have much to live for.
Nevertheless after the working season is complete, Ottway boards a plane back home with the rest of his co-workers, but the plane ride is just as bumpy as his life. After some intense turbulence, the plane crashes in the deserted snow-capped mountains and only seven men survive the horrific accident.
When Ottway awakens, he is alone in the snow with the only sounds coming from desperate survivors trying to pry their way out of the plane’s wreckage. One survivor even dies basically in his arms while trapped on the plane, a result of losing too much blood.
What initially begins as a struggle for survival against the elements, transforms into a struggle for survival against a pack of vicious wolves that sense intruders in their habitat.
Ottway is the sensible survivor, who has training in hunting wolves. He is an expert on their behavior, but his authority is consistently questioned by Diaz (Frank Grillo) who does not have the will power to survive in the harsh conditions.
The wolves attack in packs and many of the survivors lose the battle of life to the vicious animals or the rough weather conditions. The only problem with The Grey film is that many similar movies have come out, with messages of hope and survival, but The Grey film is not one of them.
While The Grey film opens up with Ottway lamenting his place in the world and questioning whether he wants to continue life, the films seems to then just focus on his desperation to avoid being attacked by the vicious wolves. Focusing on the wolves, transforms The Grey film from a classic story of triumph to a somewhat corny film.
Furthermore, the film has the stereotypical characters, from the good guys that you want to see survive; to the jerks like Diaz who audience members will wish will be the first to die at the hands of the wolves.
To make matters worse, the ending of The Grey film will leave audiences hanging, and the film is not good enough to garner a sequel to finish the story. The ending of the film lowers it from an average film to a below average film.
However, the one positive thing to take away from The Grey film is that the one Black character in the film survives the initial plane crash, and is not one of the first to die at the hands of the vicious wolves. That is progress.
Many still criticize the lack of roles for Black filmmakers and actors, or the stereotypical roles, but seeing a “brother” survive in a action/thriller or horror film is enough to bet that 2012 is going to be a great year for Black Hollywood, even though many Black actors are still at a crossroads in their career, despite their enormous talent.