In the Alaskan wilderness, a man contemplates suicide because he thinks his life no longer has any meaning.  Emotionally alone in a bleak, cold part of the world, he takes a job protecting oil workers from wolves.  He finds no happiness or satisfaction in his existence.  Until the plane that he and dozens of oil workers are in crashes.  Most of us have had moments of hopelessness and unbearable sadness; but when our backs are against a wall and there is an imminent threat to our survival, that’s when most of us choose to live, and we fight.  We fight for every minute of life.

The suicidal, main character in “The Grey” is played by Liam Neeson, who always does a great job showing not so subtle, negative emotions on his face.  He is one of seven survivors of the plane crash; and he quickly takes charge of the group as they fight shock, injuries, hunger, the cold, hopelessness, and seven, relentless wolves.  The Alpha Male wolf quickly focuses on Neeson, who doesn’t take a step back like the rest of his group as the Alpha Male wolf steps forward to get a feel for the humans.  Alpha against Alpha.

The wolves attack the humans every time the humans become careless, and it is painful to watch most of the men do stupid things that put them in danger.  This is one of the many head scratching moments of the movie.  Some viewers complain that real wolves don’t act like the way they do in the movie.   Some viewers say the humans would’ve been frozen soon after the crash.  Well…there’s what is supposed to happen according to textbooks; and there’s what actually happens in real life.  Usually the two differ significantly.

I work in a dangerous part of a newspaper company.  I usually drive a motorized, pallet mover that weighs almost as much as a Mazda Miata and it can lift and move over a ton of cargo.  We’re supposed to be trained to operate these machines.  We’re supposed to honk when we’re near people so they don’t accidentally cross our paths.  We’re supposed to report any problems with these pallet movers.  We’re supposed to slow down when approaching intersections or people.  We’re supposed to do many things that would help prevent accidents with these things.  Unfortunately, what I see and experience is a stark contrast to what we’re supposed to be doing.  And if I ever did a movie about my job, my managers and managers of similar operations would say my movie is unrealistic because the characters do things that would never be tolerated by management.  Let me assure you that many safety rules are broken in my workplace every day, with most managers turning a blind eye to what is happening.  Why?  Well, production always has priority over safety, especially when we’re behind schedule and the product has to get out as fast as possible.  The faster we go, the more dangerous things get.

I wish my job and the wolves in “The Grey” operated according to textbooks.  It would make my life safer, and all the plane crash survivors in “The Grey” would be on their merry way to civilization without being eaten by wild animals.  But my job is dangerous and I have to deal with it.  And you, the audience, have to deal with the fact that animals don’t always behave according to what that guy with the foreign accent tells you on the Discovery Channel.

One thing we should all not deal with is the shotgun shells issue.  Neeson uses a rifle in his job.   Rifles do not use shotgun shells.  So what’s he doing with shotgun shells?   Maybe he also had a shotgun?  It’s not mentioned in the movie.  So why the shotgun shells?   So that Neeson and his group can create “bang sticks” using shotgun shells as the explosive tip.  Lazy screenwriting, lazy filmmaking.

You’ll be surprised to know that I like this movie very much.  For the simple reason that the main character refuses to give up, even when he knows that his situation is most likely hopeless.  He continues to fight for every minute, every second of life.  It is the struggle, the possibility of death coming to him at any second that makes him appreciate life.

My most memorable, movie moment in “The Grey” is the scene where Neeson, a non-believer of god, screams at god to help him, to prove to him that god is real.  Neeson screams, “F@#k faith, earn it!”  When nothing happens, Neeson says, “F#*k it, I’ll do it myself.”

Absolutely, god damned right.

M

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