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Wigge Reviews: The Grey

I heard that “The Grey” was formulaic and predictable.

I have to disagree.

The Grey addresses the question of survival in a manner that is tense and horrifying beyond description.

At the same time, it was beautifully photographed in the Alaskan frontier. The movie was wonderful to watch, with huge forests and distant landscapes of the Northern Rockies.

But, you hold your breath as you watch, and never let your guard down.

Events unfold quickly, beginning at an oil rig in Northern Alaska. A group of two dozen wildcatters pile onto a local airline to head south for R&R. The plane crashes in a wild scene, killing the crew and most of the passengers.

The survivors shake off the shock only to realize that elements in the wilderness — extreme cold; isolation; and a large pack of clever, angry, carnivorous grey wolves — are the beginning of their worst nightmares.

Seven men survive the crash. In this herd of men, Ottway (Liam Neeson) eventually becomes the Alpha male. What we learn about grey wolves and their territorial hunting patterns comes from Ottway whose job is to protect exposed wildcatters on the rigs from attacking wolves. These men must keep moving to find help and survive.

What follows is unapologetic, uncompromising warfare between the pack and the herd. The pack and the harsh environment prevail, progressively thinning the weaker members of the herd.

Neeson does not carry this movie, although he is not bad. It is the narrative and photography that are spellbinding. There are scenes that are at once beautiful, then terrifying with sudden impact.

This is a film I will watch many times over, and I recommend it to anyone who values a scenic and well-packaged thriller.

Jim Wigge is a Cazenovia resident and film-aficionado. He reviews movies for the Cazenovia Republican, and can be reached through the editor at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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