The trailer for The Grey gave me the immediate reaction of having to see this on opening weekend. I rarely do that for smaller movies, but this had me determined, mainly due to the most exciting part of the trailer when Neeson charges at a wolf with shattered bottles and a knife taped to his hands. In fact, we all know that particular moment is what has most people going to see this.
Joe Carnahan, who directed The A-Team, did this. You'll notice how the crazy set pieces and wacky characters he is known for having in his movies, is totally gone. This is a realistic, gritty, dark, and sometimes charming outing. So just to get an idea of the tone, the opening scenes give off a slight Darren Aronofsky vibe. Speaking of which, the cinematography is great, with the plane crash sequence feeling real enough to make people never want to set foot on a plane again.
It's not a perfect movie of course, with some of the wolf shots appearing a little too CG looking, but that won't matter because the only fake looking moments are seen from a distance. The characters are the strong point here, with each one being believable, and often compelling. And if you hear people saying that this is just another by-the-books predictable action movie, thats BS. It's almost the complete opposite, with the exception of the last ten minutes or so, which is still truely brilliant. That's how almost everything about this movie is, all the way from its characters to its deep messages, to its arguable final moments.
I went into The Grey expecting an action movie along the lines of Taken. Well, its much more than that, what I got was a poetic and meaningful near masterpiece.