After directing such a wide range of films as The A-Team, Smoking Aces, and Narc, Joe Carnahan takes the story Ghost Walker by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers to the big screen. Re-titled as The Grey, the film, starring Liam Neeson in arguably a career defining performance, shows why Mr. Neeson has been considered one of the greatest actors in the past twenty years. Having already starred in Star Wars Episode 1 and Schindler’s List, Neeson’s turn as John Ottway, an employee of an Alaskan oil company, brings a complexity to a character at a crossroads in life where living and dying may be one and the same.
When a plane crashes in the middle of the wilderness of Alaska, a group of survivors band together in a struggle for their lives. Having miraculously survived the unsurvivable, the group swiftly become aware of the fact that the elements and starvation are not the only things they should be afraid of. As a pack of wolves begin to stalk the men, a journey both for their lives as well as coming to grips with their own personal demons begins. From a nightmare of brutality, their trek widens into a passage towards spiritual relief and absolute deliverance.
With an existential back story that draws its horrors from the viewpoint of the ambiguity of human identity, man’s place in the world, alienation of the individual, and the loss of spiritual faith, the wolves, just like Moby Dick and Jaws, appear more as metaphors for each man’s burdens rather than monsters on the hunt. Dark Discussions delivers an episode discussing why all who are listening should see this film. No matter that the Hobbit, the Avengers, Batman Rises, or Prometheus are coming, the film that everyone should see in 2012 is The Grey.