The Grey puts home audiences through the ultimate test of man versus nature starting today on Blu-ray and DVD. I enjoyed watching this film when it was in theaters, and equally enjoyed watching it again on Blu-ray with my wife. From the opening of the film to the closing scene, The Grey transports audiences into a chilling world of extreme temperatures, men and drama.
Joe Carnahan (Smoking Aces and The A-Team) directs this intense dramatic thriller that stars Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, James Badge Dale, Joe Anderson, Dallas Roberts, and Nonso Anozie. The film follows John Ottway (Neeson), a lone protector Alaskan oil workers. Ottway is charged with making sure that the men on his crew are not attacked by wolves, and is an expert sharpshooter. After a horrific airplane crash he becomes an unlikely hero, forced to lead a group of survivors on a death-defying backwoods trek through the Alaskan wilderness. The chilling weather and non-existent supplies are compounded by the fact that they are being stalked by a pack of fierce and cunning wolves. I can not imagine living and working in such a desolate, isolated area with very little sun and tons of snow. These Alaskan oil workers remind me of the intense workers who live life on the edge in shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers. These men are a rag-tag bunch of workers you would not want to run into in a dark alley, but the tables are turned when they are forced to try to survive outside of their elements against the harshness of nature.
If you are expecting a pure action thrill ride, The Grey is much more than just that. This is Carnahan's most dramatic work to date. The action sequences are intense, but the human elements are some of the most powerful and real. There are some wonderful bits of dialogue throughout the film. One of my favorite scenes is when the survivors are huddled around a campfire getting to know one another. This type of scene really hit home for me, and reminded me that we should never judge someone fully on our first impression as hard not to as that may be.
The cast of The Grey is really solid, and full of some wonderful character actors. Neeson delivers one of his most dramatically flawed characters to date. After this viewing I realized how similar his character is to wolves that chase the men in the film. As I stated above, Ottway is a loner who truly could be classified as a lone wolf. Not to say that he is not a born leader, he just needed that push to step up. Grillo is another fantastic screen presence, who dominates the scenes that he is in. I could easily see him in a leading role on the big screen, and hope that happens.
Alaska is beautifully shot by cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi (Warrior). If you shut off the lights and fully concentrate on this film at home, you will truly immerse yourself in the Alaskan wilderness. What is more impressive to me is the lack of special effects used in this film. I think that special effects would have been out of place in this film. Sounds and a haunting score help to that the tone to the next level. Marc Steitenfeld created a score that ratcheted up the intense emotions and bleak reality of the situations on screen. I am excited to hear his upcoming score for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.
The Grey is a must-watch on Blu-ray. The sound and visual quality is one of the best discs that I own. My favorite part of the extras was the audio commentary and the deleted scenes. I always enjoy hearing the commentary from directors and producers. The commentary was recorded with Carnahan and editors Roger Barton and Jason Hellmann, and gives a fun and relaxed look at the movie. There are six total deleted scenes on the disc, but unfortunately they do not have commentary. Universal also provides these bonus features - UltraViolet, Digital Copy, U-Control w/ Picture-in-Picture, pocket BLU App, and BD-Live. The Grey is available today on Blu-ray and DVD.