Liam Neeson once provided some of the most impressive cinematic performances seen on screen however after his 'family was taken' back in 2008, he's been very much typecast as the 'aging action hero'. From the exterior it seems as though Neeson continues his caricature in The Grey as he is forced into treacherous conditions after a plane crash in Alaska. However as the initial formulaic plot is drawn back a totally unexpected fresh one is put into action, revealing a truly fantastic narrative rich in heartfelt meaning and emotion.
From a sub-genre which is mostly totally exhausted of unique ideas, The Grey does the almost impossible task of bringing life to an otherwise bland narrative. The story at hand is as simple as previously described as Neeson finds himself tackling the local weather conditions as well as the blood thirsty inhabitants of Alaska. The difference is however that unlike many films of a similar genre, The Grey isn't just about fighting for survival it also produces some rich undertones that tackles the sensitive subjects of religion, faith and desperation. This allows not only for an intellectually developed narrative to unfold but also for a handful of intriguingly rich characters to carry the story.
Although undoubtedly stereotyped the largely unknown supporting cast of sub characters do an excellent job of conveying emotion through their performances. Occasionally they did fell like 'bait' for the wolves in order to 'tend to the needs of the audience' through a gruesome death scene however for the most part they provide a excellently realistic structure for the film to mold itself . When the wolves did attack they did so in a repetitive manner picking them off one by one as the group ran away in comic style, this created for some unintentionally silly scenes of unrealistic nonsense, fortunately these scenes are kept to a minimum and for the most part the audience sympathises with the characters as a much loved member passes away. Liam Neeson leads the group at the helm, proving that he hasn't simply become an 'action dad' delivering a truly endearing
and believable performance of heart felt emotion and genuine fear.
These underlying subjects implement an extra dimension to the film, acting as the most poignant aspect that makes this film so memorable. This more realatable deeper narrative, increasingly builds up until the astounding climactic scene of unexpected beauty, that is surprisingly intelligent as it is meaningful.
The true excellence of The Grey is its surprise factor, expecting a dull formulaic story of escape and instead being delivered with a heartwarming tale of one mans inner battles. Instead of insulting audiences with a simplistic plot, The Grey challenges them to uncover the deeper themes of the narrative and make an informed decision of how the film ultimately concludes. This is an exemplary example of an intellectual Hollywood blockbuster that went totally overlooked but should be lovingly praised.
8.5/10- Neeson at his very best in this meaningful portrait flowing with creativity and emotion.