Monday, January 30, 2012
Baby, I'm Howlin' For You: A Review of The Grey
Ottway works for an oil company that is based is the freezing-cold far north. He's a sharp shooter that keeps wolves away from the equipment and other employees. The Grey begins with a voice over of Ottway describing the dreadful situation: most of the oil drillers are ex-cons and violent men, cut off from the rest of the world. Not many have any redeemable qualities, at least at first. It's almost like an art-house film at the beginning, with Ottway's calm voice, the freezing cold and snow, and flash-backs of Ottway in bed with with his wife, clearly the only person in the world that means anything to him.
Ottway and a plethora of other workers enter a plane to fly out on leave. It's stormy, and the dread builds quickly as things start going wrong with the flight. What follows is an extremely disturbing and intense plane crash (this isn't giving anything away if you've seen five seconds of any of the trailers). Seriously, I would not watch this if I were flying on a plane anytime soon--the sound effects are particularly great. Seven men are left alive, but that number quickly dwindles once one gets brutally attacked by a ferocious wolf.
At one point in the film, Ottway--after seeing and suffering terrible things--calls out to above, begging for help. The camera focuses on the blank sky, looking for an answer. There is, obviously, no response. And there wouldn't be in The Grey, a film that's honest and philosophical in its questions of faith and the notion that a God could put humans in circumstances are terrible as this. Each man must come to grips with his own potential fate, and--God-fearing or not--the wolves continue to attack and winter's weather keeps building layer upon layer of dread and snow. (A-)