Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Musings On "The Gray" (SPOILERS!)

First, I really liked the movie.  It's everything a gritty, man-trying-to-survive-against-nature movie should be. Excellent characters, brutal locale, lovely photography, etc.   If you haven't seen the movie yet, briefly it's about a group of oil workers who crash in the remote Alaska wilderness and how the few survivors try to make it out alive.  Unfortunately they run into a pack of predatory wolves who sense dinner on the hoof (and invaders in their territory), leading to "problems."


It's the very very very ending that left me perplexed.  No, not the faux ending before credits that blacks out as our last surviving hero lunges at the (very large!) alpha male in charge of the wolf pack.  It's the two or three second clip at the END of the credits that appears to show the last survivor laying down against the mortally wounded wolf.

Here's my thing.  I totally understand the men defending themselves against the wolves.  But I also understand that the wolves are just doing their thing -- protecting their turf, bringing down food, etc.  Unlike the humans, who imbue the wolves with more complex emotions ("what do they want from us?!"), I don't think the wolves are hating on their prey.  They're just feasting.

So when hero Liam Neeson makes a heroic last stand and kills the head of the pack (if that is indeed what the final tiny scene represents -- it's not wholly clear), it strikes me as a cruel and almost futile gesture.  The movie makes it clear that barring unlikely rescue or a burst of fire from a falling meteor, Neeson's character is going to freeze to death in a matter of hours.  But I guess one last chest-puffing macho battle with some dumb critter in the frozen North gives Neeson's character a few moments of solace before entering the great beyond.  In which case, that's actually kind of sad.  Especially since the dying wolf is probably thinking "ow food pain ow oww" without giving two shits about the meat that jabbed it to death with sharp things.

It's still a good movie.  I guess I would have preferred an even bleaker ending.  


Blogger Muldfeld said...

I saw this in the cinema with the folks a few months ago and had no idea that there was a scene after the credits. Frankly, that pisses me off. Either do it all before the credits or don't. I can understand Marvel movies doing little fun hints after the credits that aren't germane to the story, but, for a film of this type, to employ this tactic is foolish. Either have an ambiguous ending or don't. I assumed Neeson died.

While I appreciated the film's elements, I just couldn't enjoy it much; I found it very depressing and I watch a lot of "depressing" films that I find uplifting because I find they illuminate things about my life. This didn't have that effect and I"m not sure why. Maybe it also had something to do with my parents not liking it, especially my mother, and with us all having gotten over 24 hours of stomach flu (48 hours in my case because I ate again the stuff that made us sick without realizing it).

It's cool that you just reminded me that Neeson has at least done SOMETHING thoughtful since his wife's tragic death; I feared it was all mindless action films.

It's very humane of you to see the wolves as having reasons other than evil, but, come on, man! Even Sarah Palin knows you have to shoot those frackers from the sky if you can!

11:43 PM  

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