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The Grey 2012 ***

On paper, Liam Neeson fighting a bunch of wolves doesn’t sound that gripping, but careful work from writer/director Joe Carnahan elevates it to significant heights. Neeson plays Ottway, an experienced huntsman who survives a plane crash with six co-workers, including Frank Grillo and Dermot Mulroney, only to find themselves at the mercy of bitterly hostile elements and a pack of deadly wolves. Carnahan creates a desolate, downbeat atmosphere, and The Grey’s careful fleshing out of Ottway’s character through minimal flashbacks is matches by Neeson’s towering performance. When he straps broken miniature bottle of whiskey to his fingers for the final battle, it’s an ideal image of man facing up to an unwinnable war with nature; the shocking post-credits scene allows audiences to fill in the blanks.


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