A survivalist thriller with a philosophical bent, The Grey is the latest project from The A-Team duo, director Joe Carnahan and actor Liam Neeson.
Set in the remote Alaskan wilderness, it's the story of a group of rough oil-rig workers, led by an authoritative Neeson, who miraculously survive a plane crash, but then must survive harsh winter conditions and outrun a pack of man-eating wolves.
The Grey isn't just about hunted men, although this does provide plenty of relentless tension throughout the film, but about the will to live. This is revealed through the men's conversations after the horror of their predicament sinks in; they take on a confessional tone, almost as if the situation they find themselves in is retribution for mistakes they've made in their lives.
It's a clever combination, the action and adventure mixed with an examination of their individual psyches, and if the survivalist aspect makes it sound a little like an episode of TV series I Shouldn't Be Alive it's not, it's much more poetic and beautifully shot with stunning, stark cinematography.
Though there is plenty to think about it's hardly relaxing, in fact The Grey is an almost brutal film. There's the occasional cheesy moment with call-outs to God and MacGyver-like survival techniques, but mostly it's driven by fear and desperation.
Carnahan's perspective is clear - nature rules, and it has little regard for the nice guy or the bad guy trying to redeem himself. It's a refreshing reality and Hollywood check ... if somewhat unsatisfying for those who like happy endings.
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Liam Neeson
Director: Joe Carnahan
Running time: 117 mins
Rating: R16 (offensive language and content that may disturb)
Verdict: A beautifully shot, thought provoking and grim adventure.
Watch the trailer for The Grey: