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THE GREY Post-Relese Discussion

post #1 of 439
Thread Starter 

I kind of loved this.  I read the script about a year ago so I knew what was coming and exactly how dark shit was going to go, but my gf did not and she was really struggling with the relentless death and doom and gloom.  The world of the Grey is just a horrible place to exist in.  The more touchy feely emotional segments and flashbacks all really worked wonderfully for me, Ottway seeing his father and the poem, the stuff with his wife, Talgot seeing his daughter...  It was all very gracefully handled and I loved it.

 

The only key differences I noticed from the script were very minor. 

 

-Ottway's suicide attempt is aborted by the appearance of a grizzly bear instead of the wolves howling.

-Diaz was originally named Pike, presumably they renamed him because of the actors ethnicity.

-Heinrich falls through ice and is dragged below it as opposed to being caught on that log.

 

The most important difference was the ending...  I was kind of shocked by the ending and loved it.  In the script ultimately it's a MUCH happier more hollywood kind of ending, and I think what they went with was the best choice.  It should be known there is a very short minor stinger after the credits that hints at Ottways ultimate fate.

post #2 of 439

Saw it last night. The ending (or lack thereof) is the biggest cocktease I've seen in years. Colossally disappointing. Made me want to tape broken bottlenecks to my knuckles and punch the screen.

post #3 of 439

It's a letdown considering the film's building toward a payoff that never arrives.

post #4 of 439


Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

Saw it last night. The ending (or lack thereof) is the biggest cocktease I've seen in years. Colossally disappointing. Made me want to tape broken bottlenecks to my knuckles and punch the screen.


Damn.  Did they learn nothing from the lawsuit over Drive's misleading trailer?
 

 

post #5 of 439

Oh man, I can't wait to see the fallout from this!

 

They might as well just add a title card that tells the audience to go to a website to continue the adventure!

post #6 of 439

The thing that pisses me off is that the vibe I get from the film suggests Liam isn't going to survive this fight, but he's going to go down fighting. But this is the kind of film that feels PRIMED to embrace his toughness, and at least show how he goes down in battle against those wolf motherfuckers, and if not, take them down hardcore.

 

Adding to this, the post-credits bit implies he may survive. Which, in that case, what the fuck are you trying to say, Carnahan?

post #7 of 439

The Grey ultimately isn't a movie about Liam Neeson punching a wolf. I think trailers and TV spots have been cut to make this look like "Taken with wolves", but it's pretty apparent early on that the Liam Neeson of The Grey isn't totally a Bryan Mills type-- close, but not quite. He's not indestructible and unstoppable. He has limitations, he has fears, he has significant and human weaknesses. Nothing about the picture suggests he's capable of taking down a wolf in single combat; in point of fact, the attack on Diaz shows that it takes all of the men working together to kill one wolf, and that wolf isn't the alpha. And Ottway knows all of this, and so his first instinct is to avoid contact with the wolves as much as possible, until the survivors are whittled down to Burke, Ottway, Hendrick, Diaz, and Talget and their combined desperation is enough to make Ottway think that killing the wolves "one by one" is a remotely actionable plan. It's not, and for me, it never is at any point.

 

The only thing that the survivors have on their side is a degree of ingenuity that lets them cross the ravine almost casualty-free, among other things. They don't have the numbers or the strength to repel an entire pack of hostile, threatened predators on their own turf. All that they can do is move forward, and eventually even that starts to become too much to ask-- so the film explores mildly metaphysical themes and mostly brings each man to some measure of catharsis about their faith, the people they love, and their own mortality.

 

When the film cut, I wanted to applaud. Carnahan, in doing so, dodged an immeasurably silly climax whose outcome is a foregone conclusion. Would it have been awesome to watch Neeson fight the alpha? Probably, but then again, Neeson could read me the fucking ingredients of the Cinnamon Burst Cheerios I eat in the morning and I'd be totally captivated. What happens to Ottway? Most likely, the alpha-- which is decidedly not starving and not freezing and not exhausted-- kills him. Maybe the alpha dies of its wounds thereafter. Maybe Ottway just wrecks the son of a bitch outright. But then he's surrounded by a pack of wolves in their den after he's just killed their alpha. As Tom Turkey might say, "REVENGE!" He dies. No matter what. I don't think we need to see any of that, because none of it's the point. The big payoff we're looking for is emotional, and it lies in his furious plea to a non-existent or apathetic deity and in the sequence where he looks through the wallets of each man aboard the plane before looking at his only picture of his wife and the letter he wrote to her. There's never much hope that Ottway will survive. There's never much hope that he'll triumph over the wolves. But there's hope for him to come to terms with his fate and with his emotional pain, which he does-- and he uses that as strength to gird himself for the last good fight he'll ever know.

 

Maybe we get to see that scene in a director's cut somewhere, and maybe it's as kickass as Neeson fighting a wolf should be, but it's not really necessary for the film's message at all. Full disclosure: I had no idea whatsoever that there'd be a post-credits scene, so I left the theater Tuesday night when the credits started rolling. If it's crucial to the film's climax, I find that absolutely frustrating, but I'm also willing to ignore whatever it is because I'm totally satisfied with the ending that I got.

 

TL;DR version: Big thumbs-up from me.

post #8 of 439

I just can't let Carnahan off the hook for delivering a movie that sets up such a brutal climax in its final moments, then cuts to black. It's like saying, "Eh, you get the idea." I don't want to walk out of a movie thinking, "Well, he probably dies." Shit, imagine if "Taken" had ended with the standoff between Liam Neeson and the guy who's holding his daughter at gunpoint. "Eh, he probably saves her." I don't go to the movies for "probably."

post #9 of 439

Taken isn't The Grey, though. I expect Taken to feature a final showdown between the hero and the villain because that's the sort of movie it is. I don't see The Grey as that sort of movie, and while I don't go to the movies for "probably" either, I also don't go for dissatisfying incongruity. If this had ended on "man fights wolf, man dies, fin" I would probably have been slightly frustrated because between that ending and the ending Carnahan arrives at, the latter feels more complete and rewarding to me.

post #10 of 439
Quote:

Originally Posted by agracru View Post

Nothing about the picture suggests he's capable of taking down a wolf in single combat;


Dude. Within twenty minutes of the crash-landing scene, he lunges at a wolf by himself yelling, "MOTHERFUCKER!"

 

That moment belonged in a sillier movie. A sillier movie I WANTED TO WATCH.

post #11 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

I just can't let Carnahan off the hook for delivering a movie that sets up such a brutal climax in its final moments, then cuts to black. It's like saying, "Eh, you get the idea." I don't want to walk out of a movie thinking, "Well, he probably dies." Shit, imagine if "Taken" had ended with the standoff between Liam Neeson and the guy who's holding his daughter at gunpoint. "Eh, he probably saves her." I don't go to the movies for "probably."



There's also a bullshit post-credits sequence that shows Neeson laying atop the wolf. And you can tell one of them is still breathing. BUT WHICH ONE?! See, it's supposed to be ambiguous. Because... because... um.

 

Carnahan can't end his films. He's never been able to.

post #12 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe T View Post


Dude. Within twenty minutes of the crash-landing scene, he lunges at a wolf by himself yelling, "MOTHERFUCKER!"


Yeah, and the wolf kicks his ass. Hence, he's not capable of taking down a wolf in single combat. Again, it takes the intervention of several other survivors just to chase the animal off; they don't even kill it.

 

Why is that especially silly? He acts on pure emotion; he's been taking measures to ensure the bodies of their fellow passengers are treated with decency, and here's a wolf eating that dead lady's face. It's not particularly smart, but it's not some goofy out-of-left-field beat. And after that encounter he's far more cautious.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roboTimKelly View Post



There's also a bullshit post-credits sequence that shows Neeson laying atop the wolf. And you can tell one of them is still breathing. BUT WHICH ONE?! See, it's supposed to be ambiguous. Because... because... um.

 

Carnahan can't end his films. He's never been able to.



While again acknowledging that I missed that post-credits scene (though I would have stuck around if I'd known in advance), which I frankly think isn't necessary at all with the way the film ends, it's pretty easy to conclude that Ottway's dead based on what you describe and based on what the film establishes. He can't take a random wolf interloper by himself. He can't take an omega by himself. And his father's poem is all about dying in a fight. Nothing in the text supports Ottway being able to kill the alpha in single combat, or surviving the entire ordeal in general. I feel like we can safely conclude that Ottway's dead, but I really wish that Carnahan didn't feel like he had to tack a post-credits scene onto the film at all.


Edited by agracru - 1/27/12 at 12:43pm
post #13 of 439

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roboTimKelly View Post

There's also a bullshit post-credits sequence that shows Neeson laying atop the wolf. And you can tell one of them is still breathing. BUT WHICH ONE?! See, it's supposed to be ambiguous. Because... because... um.

 

Carnahan can't end his films. He's never been able to.


Jesus. So the anti-climax is followed by no clear resolution. Cinema!

 

Carnahan misunderstands the audience for this type of movie. Or he resents us.

 

I need to watch "The Edge" again.

post #14 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by agracru View Post
I feel like we can safely conclude that Ottway's dead, but I really wish that Carnahan didn't feel like he had to tack a post-credits scene onto the film at all.


Ottway is the new Russian From Sopranos. Runs off into the woods to presumably meet his demise, but he could still be out there. Making a go of things.

 

I haven't had time to put my review together, but a large part of that is trying to put into words why the film's ambiguous ending doesn't work for me. I hate the ending of The Grey much in the same way that I hate the ending of Smokin' Aces. Carnahan tries to leave you with something to chew on (even though the post-credits scene tries to fuck that), but ultimately his films up to that point are so straightforward that it comes of as robbing the audience of a conclusion. 

post #15 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by roboTimKelly View Post



Ottway is the new Russian From Sopranos. Runs off into the woods to presumably meet his demise, but he could still be out there. Making a go of things.

 

I haven't had time to put my review together, but a large part of that is trying to put into words why the film's ambiguous ending doesn't work for me. I hate the ending of The Grey much in the same way that I hate the ending of Smokin' Aces. Carnahan tries to leave you with something to chew on (even though the post-credits scene tries to fuck that), but ultimately his films up to that point are so straightforward that it comes of as robbing the audience of a conclusion. 

 

I suppose I can understand that. Clearly, that ambiguity really works for me, though maybe not so much in Smokin' Aces, the ending of which I also didn't much care for. I like movies that invite me to go back over their events and use them to inform the direction of the climax (though I'm sure you do too), which is exactly what I did with The Grey. I think it might have felt like much more of a cheat if Ottway's moment of catharsis hadn't been so well-realized; robbed of that, then the only logical satisfying conclusion is for Ottway to fight/kill the alpha.

 

If anything, it's the very idea of a post-credits scene that feels like a cheat. Why not just include that before the credits? What does putting it post-credits achieve? The more I think about it the more I'm really glad I missed that moment, and I'm glad it's post-credits, because that lets me very easily write it off as something that's not part of the rest of the film.

post #16 of 439

Right. I think post-credits are better served as a teasers (Marvel being the most notable example, but oh my god, Masters of the fucking Universe as well). But this information is, arguably, of great importance to the overall narrative. And not everyone is going to know to stay afterwords. A part of me thinks this is studio interference, as in they wanted to give the audience some glimmer of hope. Just speculating... 

post #17 of 439

I don't think you're far off. It definitely doesn't feel in-line with what Carnahan went for in the rest of the film, and based on how the rest of the theater reacted to the ending, I'd say that someone in a suit probably wanted to add in some kind of happy ending to placate the mainstream-- who probably won't like this movie much at all.

post #18 of 439

Devin's review beat me to this, but did anyone else read subtext galore out of the Liam Neeson mourning his wife stuff?

 

There's also a bullshit post-credits sequence that shows Neeson laying atop the wolf. And you can tell one of them is still breathing. BUT WHICH ONE?! See, it's supposed to be ambiguous. Because... because... um.

 

Actually, it's clear that the wolf is the one breathing. But the fact that it mirrors the scene from the beginning is an obvious tipoff that it's about to die.

 

Also I'm going to be fucking terrified the next time I take a plane thanks to this.


Edited by Whiteboy Jones - 1/27/12 at 4:41pm
post #19 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

Devin's review beat me to this, but did anyone else read subtext galore out of the Liam Neeson mourning his wife stuff?

 



There's definitely something you can read into, if inclined, with the roles Neeson's chosen since his wife's death. It feels like there's a turn in the work he's going for. There's a aggression in his roles nowadays that I haven't really seen since Darkman.

 

But, I think there's an audience that wants to see him in these Taken-like roles. Hell, I'd put myself in that category. So perhaps he's going where the money and work are. For me, it's interesting to speculate that the answer might be somewhere in between. 

post #20 of 439

What do you all think this movie would have been like if Bradley Cooper had starred as planned?

post #21 of 439

Hilarious. 

post #22 of 439

greyslider.jpg

 

http://www.chud.com/77896/review-the-grey/

 

Dudes, you can keep your silly, everyday action flick. I'll take the thematically interesting, soulful action flick all day.

 

And I didn't see the post-credits stinger but if it is exactly as described, then it perfectly fits the thematic tapestry of the film.

post #23 of 439

I REALLY like this movie, but the ending just doesn't work. This isn't an art film. It's a kick ass man against nature film. You can't build suspense, follow the rules of a three act thriller, leading up to the one-on-one climax, and then send the audience out with blueballs. There's a feel to this very much like "Jaws" and "The Thing". Can you imagine if "Jaws" had led up to Brody jamming the air tank in the shark's mouth, climbing up to the highest part of a sinking boat with a rifle, show the shark charging towards him and then cut to black. There HAS to be a climax. Neeson doesn't even have to win. He can die fighting, or win and be on the threshold of death in a hopeless situation (like "The Thing"). But there has to be something.

 

Also, in the commercials I've been seeing on TV, there's a shot of Neeson charging forward in slo mo with weapons taped to his hand, that's not in the final version. I wonder how much of a final fight was shot. I saw this at a matinee that was pretty empty, but I imagine a big audience is gonna be furious with the ending as it is. 

 

And it is a shame. Because I was really with it up to that point.

post #24 of 439

You guys are right about the ending originally being different. I have a draft dated 6/21/07 that contains a two-page fight scene between the Alpha and John, ending with John killing the Alpha (while acquiring many injuries himself), and the rest of the wolves respecting the triumph and leaving. Alone in the snow, close to death, he starts to see his love, who carries him into the sky, but then he comes to and is rescued by a helicopter, returned to a hospital, and the story ends with John grasping his love's hand. This draft leaves it up to the viewer as to whether or not he ended up dying from his battle wounds in the den or not, which probably would have been more satisfying, even though I think the current ending ultimately works.

post #25 of 439

As a rule of thumb I always stay through credits at the completion of a movie. If you did you would have seen the real ending. My take, he killed the Alpha Male therefore leaving him laying in the den alive as the new alpha male of the wolfpack... Makes sense with all the subliminal other parts of the film that showed his connection with the wolves and how the wolves were his only real reason to live.

post #26 of 439

I gotta say, I'm not sure what they would have lost by showing the wolf fight. Every single person in that theater was absolutely aching to see it. They could have ended it on the exact same beat, with Neeson killing the Alpha and turning to face the pack, and his destiny.

 

But whatever, it was still pretty great.

post #27 of 439

Hmm, I wonder if they filmed it, and it ended up looking like crap and they had to scrap it.

post #28 of 439

That's kind of what I'm thinking. Like I said, there are shots in the commercials of him charging forward in that scene. There has to be some reason for ending it the way they did beyond artistic license. 

post #29 of 439

That does make sense. A shame, considering it's pretty much the big moment in the film. Maybe if the ad campaign hadn't so explicitly promised we'd be seeing Neeson punch wolves with broken mini bottles strapped to his knuckles it would feel less blueballs and be more the pretty awesome ending it actually is. 

 

Naw, I take that back, once he straps on the minis I'm positively dying to see it go down.

 

I'm glad I saw this fast, as I expect people are going to have some pretty strong opinions on it. I seriously loved it pretty much all the way through, which came as a bit of a surprise. Once Neeson talks that guy in the fuselage through his death, I was all in, and I loved every single moment afterwards. Every single chat about masculinity, God, and death, every single CGI wolf, and every single death scene, be it protracted and torturous (Talgot on the rope), shocking and out of the blue (Flannery lags behind a bit), or just realistically banal (black guy freezes to death). It's absolutely one of the best wilderness survival movies I've seen, comparing quite favorably to The Edge, a movie I've got a real soft spot for. So it's a real goddamn shame everyone who walks out of it will be talking about how the ending is a bit of a fuck up. It's the sort of thing that will prevent me from calling my Dad tomorrow to tell him his next favorite movie just came out.

I even love everything that happens in the ending, and as I said above, they could totally have had their cake and ate it too. It's nice that Ottway had his catharsis, it just would have been nice if the audience had one.

 

That said, I had a great time. Between this and Haywire, probably the best January slate ever. They say even Contraband was all right.

post #30 of 439

Off topic but I just thought I should drop this off here:

 

CqWKj.jpg

post #31 of 439

having not seen a single trailer I very much enjoyed this, and thought the ending worked a treat. It seems the negative reactions here tell a sad story of the state of modern film trailers.

 

 

post #32 of 439

Amazing. Carnahan really came out of the wilderness of post-Narc pop-trash for this thing, which at times, with its full and affecting characters and stunning vistas, feels like a novel written with a handheld camera. As someone who doesn't really believe in God, I appreciated the line it walked in being a film about coming to terms with whatever it is that ails you, no so much so you can survive, but so that you can simply make peace and die right. I like that a lot. 

 

 

 

P.S., I wanted to stay away from talking about the audience, but being a people watcher, I have to say that perhaps until the ending, this movie absolutely had people by the balls and the heart. It's always nice to see that.

post #33 of 439

Unless you're obsessed with IT'S ALL GONNA BE FINE "happy endings" I don't understand how the ending ruins anything. The movie is all about not giving up and fighting to survive. And the movie ends like that.

 

You really wanted to see another blurry/incomprehensible man vs. wolf struggle that much?

I didn't.

post #34 of 439

Two things. First, this looks like a hit, which makes me very, very happy, and second, can someone move this thread to the proper place?

post #35 of 439
Thread Starter 

I kind of loved this.  I read the script about a year ago so I knew what was coming and exactly how dark shit was going to go, but my gf did not and she was really struggling with the relentless death and doom and gloom.  The world of the Grey is just a horrible place to exist in.  The more touchy feely emotional segments and flashbacks all really worked wonderfully for me, Ottway seeing his father and the poem, the stuff with his wife, Talgot seeing his daughter...  It was all very gracefully handled and I loved it.

 

The only key differences I noticed from the script were very minor. 

 

-Ottway's suicide attempt is aborted by the appearance of a grizzly bear instead of the wolves howling.

-Diaz was originally named Pike, presumably they renamed him because of the actors ethnicity.

-Heinrich falls through ice and is dragged below it as opposed to being caught on that log.

 

The most important difference was the ending...  I was kind of shocked by the ending and loved it.  In the script ultimately it's a MUCH happier more hollywood kind of ending, and I think what they went with was the best choice.  It should be known there is a very short minor stinger after the credits that hints at Ottways ultimate fate.

post #36 of 439
I thought the stinger left the question entirely open, and I loved it for that. The revelation, toward the end, that...

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Ottway's love didn't leave him because of some fault of his, to be revealed over the course of the script. He's a widower, dying inside of survivor's guilt


...took my breath away in surprise. This movie defied my expectations in so many ways, just one smart decision after another, but ...

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
showing he never had any hope of seeing her again, and had no one who needed him after the river drowning


...absolutely killed me. This movie is so fucking good.
post #37 of 439

I thought it was fairly easy to figure out that Ottway was a widower (I've been through some bad break-ups, but there was no way that Ottway was simply coming off of a divorce), so the reveal was just a visual confirmation to me. That Diaz, outside of his driver's license, had an entirely empty wallet, was something that really, really got me, especially in contrast with all of those fathers, husbands, and lovers. I was quite taken with his opting to die out there instead of getting back to the world and wasting his second chance as he knew he would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #38 of 439

Yeah, I really loved that Diaz wallet scene, too. I loved so much of it. Just makes it all the more frustrating that it felt so incomplete at the end.

post #39 of 439

I don't know about incomplete, but I'll confess that when it was clear that Ottway had found his way into their den, I had a suspicion that it was going to end the way that it did (w/ an off screen death), and I said to myself: "You, know, I'm not quite sure if we've made it far enough to make that work." And then they went there. I feel fine about it and I think it works, but if there's one thing I'd change leading up to it, it's the dead wife "reveal". I wouldn't have that bit (even if it sold the "don't be afraid" line). I'm not saying it's totally for the cheap seats, but it was something that I felt was so heavily implied beforehand that it struck me as superfluous. Even up to the point where Ottway is raging against God (in Neeson's most winning scene in years), he never brings up his wife. She's not around to be brought up. I didn't need anymore than that. 

post #40 of 439

Yeah, that scene where he's calling God out is one for the books. That hurt.

post #41 of 439

 

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny View Post

I thought it was fairly easy to figure out that Ottway was a widower

 

I called it seconds after the wife first showed up. But I don't think I'm a genius (well, yes I do, but regardless...); it's just really obvious.

post #42 of 439

Yeah, I'm pretty brilliant too, but apparently it's "not cool" or "weird" or something to give yourself a compliment, or occasionally touch yourself to your own shirtless photos every now and again. I can't for the life of me figure out why. Haywire and this, man, back to back. That's a damn tasty double scoop of gorgeously photographed genre transcendence going on right there. I'm liking 2012 right now.

post #43 of 439
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
it was going to end the way that it did (w/ an off screen death)

 

He didn't die.

 

The confronting god scene is Oscar worthy stuff.

post #44 of 439

"Fuck faith... earn it!" is such a fantastic line. I am pretty much in line with the rest of you with loving this movie to pieces. The ending is starting to grow on me now after some contemplation.

Am I the only one who thinks this and The Wrestler would be a fantastic double-bill? Both films have the lead actors inhabit roles that hit close to home with events that actually happened to them (Neeson's wife's death, Rourke's fall from grace in Hollywood), and, hell, the endings both mirror one another pretty closely.

post #45 of 439

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freeman View Post

He didn't die.


That's kind of up in the air.

Neeson could be alive, dying or already dead. You only see the back of his head resting on the body of a still breathing alpha wolf.

post #46 of 439

 

Originally Posted by wadew1 View Post

Neeson could be alive, dying or already dead. You only see the back of his head resting on the body of a still breathing alpha wolf.


Which is a mirror of an earlier shot in the film, where he triumphed over a wolf. The mere fact that he gets to rest on the wolf without its protest, plus the visual cue, is a pretty strong suggestion that he won.

post #47 of 439

I didn't say he didn't get the better of the wolf or 'win' , I'm just not sure he's alive based on that shot.

post #48 of 439

Pisses me off that some friends hated this. How could they? Fucking Neeson deserves an Oscar for this. From what I can gather the ending is leaving a sour taste in some mouths. 

post #49 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by wadew1 View Post

I didn't say he didn't get the better of the wolf or 'win' , I'm just not sure he's alive based on that shot.


The post-credits scene is pretty ambiguous on whether or not Ottway's alive.  Should the script be taken as canon, since the movie doesn't disagree with the ending, the movie just ends earlier?

 

post #50 of 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

 


Which is a mirror of an earlier shot in the film, where he triumphed over a wolf. The mere fact that he gets to rest on the wolf without its protest, plus the visual cue, is a pretty strong suggestion that he won.



It actually more strongly suggests that they killed each other.

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