The Grey

First, let me ask you a question: How would you prefer to die? Plane crash? Suicide? Starvation? Diabetes? Freezing? Drowning? Bleeding to death? Falling? Attacked by a wolf? In this grim endurance test, you get to evaluate them all and pick a favorite. My colleague can't vote, her eyes were covered too much of the time.

We start with a North Slope oil-drilling team getting ready to go home for a much-needed break. They are rude, crude and lewd. It's clear from the get-go that the plane is going to have icing problems, so it's no surprise when they crash in the trackless wilderness where a relentless wolf pack sees the handful of survivors as intruders.

Let's talk about some of those survivors:
  • Liam Neeson ("Taken") is a grieving widower with no will to live ...until he's about to die...THEN he kicks into gear and starts a titanic struggle to survive.
  • Dermot Mulroney ("The Family Tree"), almost unrecognizable here, is a near-sighted engineer who is a steady influence when the going gets rough...but he IS afraid of heights.
  • Frank Grillo ("Warrior") never hears a plan he likes. He argues about everything and challenges everyone. We suspect all that bombast conceals a cowardly yellow streak down his spine.
  • James Badge Dale ("Rubicon") seems to be a sweetheart, always fair, always even-handed and certainly a trooper. He has a scene here that reminded me of "Sometimes a Great Notion," please tell me if you, too, recognize it.
We have various personalities: the big-talking coward, the trash-talking wit, the taciturn Alpha male, the arguing contrarian, you know, all the stereotypes.... The script provides an interlude of humor as they relax around a campfire, but we mostly see dogged attempts to survive. The only outdoors training I ever had was with an Arizona Scout troop, but the city slickers who wrote this script made such laughable choices for their characters I wanted to shout at the screen, "Oh, come ON!"

After two hours of arduous struggle, I found myself leaning toward suicide...
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