A few months back I watched, The Grey starring Liam Neeson. Released in 2011 and directed by Joe Carnahan of Smokin Aces and the A-Team, is a film of enduring spirit. It takes place in Alaska and centers on a team of petroleum workers. Neeson plays John Ottway, a skilled marksman who guards the crew from stray wolves in their work camp. The scene opens with a broken man with nothing left to live for. He kneels to the ground in surrender and places the barrel of his rifle in his mouth. The scene jumps back to haunting memories of his wife. We can sense there is pain and loss. These touching scenes only made me wonder if Neeson was pulling from life for these moments. Having lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson in 2009 after a tragic ski accident, I have to say I found these scenes very intimate and poignant. Before he can pull the trigger however, he is interrupted by a large grey wolf. In fact, the grey wolf saves his life and essentially his soul from the eternal damnation of suicide. His father, deceased having been a strong Irish Catholic man, a drinker, a brawler and a poet would have felt suicide to be the coward’s way. There is a running theme centering on a poem that his father writes:
Once More in to the Fray
To the Last Good Fight I’ll Ever Know
Live and Die on this Day
Live and Die on this Day
Ottway knows this is profound, but doesn’t yet know the depth of the words. He thought he did, but there was more to learn.
After a long haul, the crew is on their way back to Anchorage in a blizzard which naturally causes the plane to crash. Now, it’s just the crew, the elements and the wolves left to contend with. The plane crash was very well done. The best one I’ve seen in film since J.J Abrams’ Lost or the 1993 hit film, Alive. Among the havoc of realization, the crew loses a few members and Neeson’s character Ottway engages in a very heart in your throat moment where he talks a man through dying. At this moment we understand that his wife has probably died. The honesty, compassion and wisdom he shares with the young man automatically earns him respect from the remaining crew. Because of his experience with wolves at their camp, he unofficially becomes the leader of the remaining survivors.
The film is full of “Holy Shit!” moments. I found myself gripped throughout. I won’t give much away other than the fact that in the final scene, his father’s poem inspires him to fight the one last great fight. The viewer knows he will fight with every fiber of his soul. It gave me goose bumps.
No one could have played that part better than Neeson. Whenever a film needs a big man, with heart and authority, they call Neeson. I’ve been a fan since 1990’s Darkman. When I saw him back then I thought, Wow, we need to see more of this ruggedly handsome bloke. We have.
Other Handsome Neeson Roles
Schindler’s List 1993
Star Wars Episode 1; the Phantom Menace 1999
Batman Begins 2005
Batman: The Dark Night Rises 2012
If you were involved in a plane crash and had to take leadership from;
A) Liam Neeson
B) Matthew Fox
C) Stephen Harper
Who would YOU choose?
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Watch Liam Neeson,
To View Official Trailer CLICK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRWF4cepn8U