Directed by: Joe Carnahan. Oh, Liam Neeson. I’m growing rather fond of you. I don’t know when I first realized…I always suspected, in the back of my mind. I’ve been watching you all of these years, but only now do I realize that so many great memories I’ve had, so many amazing experiences…you were there at so many of them, mostly just in the background, the stoic supporter with a tough underside and a gentle heart. Sigh…I don’t know why it took me so long to take a deliberate interest in Old Neesy, but I think The Grey is as good a place to start as any. It’s especially striking since I just saw him in Love Actually, perhaps his gentlest, family-friendliest role. This role plays much more to his tougher, tortured star type as he plays Ottway—a wounded soul in a tough man’s body. He’s a wolf hunter—“a hired killer for a major petroleum company.” I could talk all day about this thing—it’s really captured my imagination as movies set and shot in northern climes often do. Opening the film in a dark, bleak looking oil refinery “at the end of the world”–Alaska (but actually Smithers, BC)—sets a great tone of mystery and familiarity that sustains through the whole picture. It’s not like we’ve never seen a survival film before, but this one is certainly a good one. As with a lot of these things, a great deal of what makes it compelling is watching Neeson’s character balance the standard Tortured Hero with his own mannerisms. Even just watching his face and hearing his smooth growl of a voice is enough to make this movie compelling. I can see how some viewers, if they’re not captivated by the tone and setting (and Neeson), might see this film as simply a standard “let’s follow the hero and watch how noble he is in navigating through staggeringly antagonistic circumstances” story. But if this is all you’re getting, I’d say you’re missing out.