The Grey: Once more into the fray

Posted: February 14, 2012 by jperritt in Action, Drama, Thriller
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Not too long ago I wrote two posts (find them here and here) dealing with themes surrounding Liam Neeson’s new film, They Grey. Those post deal well with ideologies in the film, however, I had the chance to see the film and would like to share some additional thoughts. I will warn you that this post will have MAJOR spoilers (I’m going to disclose the ending in the next paragraph). If you do plan on watching this film, you should probably abstain from this post.

The Grey’s main character is Ottway (Neeson). He is a man that’s been given the task of defending Alaskan oil drillers from wolves. Because of this task, he is able to help the men greatly when their plane crash-lands in the wilderness. As the men are slowly picked off by a pack of wolves, they fight for survival against the extreme temperatures and ravenous wolves. However, this is one of those untraditional Hollywood endings where the hero dies…everyone does for that matter.

The title of the film tells you much about what it’s communicating. The word ‘grey’ conjures up cold and bleak feelings, a sense of helplessness. The cinematography for the entirety of the movie communicates exactly that. The attitude of Ottway’s character is cold, & the philosophy of fatalism is communicated throughout the film. Not to mention the feeling one gets as the credits roll right as the hero falls. Even if you were one of those who stayed until the credits had completely rolled, you still see the fallen protagonist laid against the dead alpha wolf.

I have spoken with several who did not care for the film, I did, however. If we simply accepted the message the film tries to communicate, I agree, it is pretty bleak. The characters really don’t give anyone much hope. They constantly state the helplessness of their situation. Ottway, as he communicates to a dying passenger on the plane, makes a statement that sets the tone for the entire story, “You’re going to die.” Although this was a somewhat gracious statement attempting to calm the man down, it was hopeless.

Vanity of Life
As the character of Diaz is dying, he exclaims that he really doesn’t have much to live for. He asks what is the point? He remarks on the fact that even if he lives, there’s no point to his life anyway. He then throws in the towel and accepts his fate.

Ottway makes a similar claim. After all of his comrades have fallen on this journey, we see him at his most vulnerable. He looks up to heaven and screams at God, cursing him to “Show him something!” Pleading with God to give him a reason to believe. When the answer is nothing but silence, Ottway exclaims, “I’ll just do it myself!”

There is no God, there is no hope, everything is predetermined, and we must make our own fate. This would be the surface message of The Grey, however, illuminating this message through the lens of Scripture, there is a deeper meaning.

Ottway’s entire life reflects his exclamation toward God at the end of the film, “I’ll just do it myself.” He doesn’t believe there’s a God and wants to live a life independent from God, especially because of his bitterness over the death of his wife.  Ottway is in rebellion towards God and the entire film is an illustration of what that life looks like. It’s interesting that one of the men even asks the question of the other survivors, “Do you think this was ordained?” Even though they dismissed it, he was exactly right. Proverbs 16:4 says, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

The Lord is not apathetic towards sin, Scripture is clear that he hates sin because he loves righteousness. We are all rebellious – Christians and unbelievers. The only difference is the fact that Jesus took the wrath on himself so believers don’t have to drink that cup. However, the end of The Grey is a fitting reminder for those outside of Christ. Ottway’s entire path of rebellion led him to a den of wolves. The last place any man would want to find himself. A place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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Comments
  1. Nobunaga says:

    Ahhh, the wonderful experience watching “The Grey”…. but it appears the opinions are very unbalanced. At least in IMDB. Either people get it, or they don’t. I, for one, really liked the movie. The message it delivers, and how it does it.
    It can be a bit of a depressive movie, or is it just “too real”? What does happen when you strip down men and all their evolution, to the bare essentials, and push it against a beast? A thing that does not care for clothes, weapons, or that sort.
    What would you do? Accept your apparent fait? Or make the bastard pay the price, if he wants your head?

    That said, the last part….. were he gets ready for the fight, utters the words he remembers from his father’s poem (I liked the poem…. ), and surely goes out with a bang!

    We can’t really know for sure who won…… perhaps they both died. Either way, I wasn’t expecting that ending. What would appear to be a Hollywood flick, with a “no hero” ending 🙂

    I liked you review. Even if you quote the “scriptures”, you can get the message….. even when I am more of a Buddhist myself.

    Watch “I saw the Devil”(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1588170/) when you can…. would like to see what you make out of it. One of the most “profound”, movies I have ever seen….. And I have seen hundreds. It made a very strong point on the path of revenge….. of punishment. The best I have ever seen.

    Cheers

  2. bolado says:

    nice, but the last paragraph is not good.
    ottway is asking for help, and nothing helped him, it made everyone certain there is no such thing as god.

    • jperritt says:

      Balado – Sorry for the delayed response. I understand your comment but I guess I have to disagree. Just bc God, seemingly, kept silent doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as God. God is always at work and he always answers but it may not be writing in the sky or, in Ottaway’s situation, the answer he was looking for. He exclaimed to God that he would “do it himself” and I believe we witness God’s justice at the end of the film, proving his existence.

      All that to say, I believe the film allows the viewer to interpret.

      nice, but the last paragraph is not good.
      ottway is asking for help, and nothing helped him, it made everyone certain there is no such thing as god.

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