The Best Liam Neeson Movie You've Never Seen Is 10 Years Old
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Featured Image Credit: Entertainment Film Distributors
The best Liam Neeson movie you've never seen is 10 years old. 'Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I'll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.'
Pre-2008, Neeson had no shortage of classic roles: Schindler's List is a bona fide classic; his Qui-Gon Jinn was a highlight of the Star Wars prequels; you can't go wrong with Love Actually at Christmas; and of course, he mentored bloody Batman.
Then, a small action movie with a whopper of a speech changed everything: Taken, the ultimate career-shifting catapult for the actor. From thereon, Neeson was a go-to genre hero, churning out popcorn flicks like The Commuter, Non-Stop and even the Taken sequels. However, one film billed as a 'wolf-punching movie' stands apart from the rest: The Grey.
Directed by Joe Carnahan, whom Neeson worked with on the underrated The A-Team in 2010, The Grey follows a group of men who end up stranded in Alaska after a plane crash, only to find themselves being hunted by a pack of wolves. Up against terrifying odds, nasty injuries and brutal weather, they must find a way to survive.
Cursed by Neeson's reputation at the time, The Grey struggled to sell itself beyond the barebones of its premise, racking up around $81 million at the box office. Yes, it boasts some nail-biting sequences and gnarly imagery, but where the film strides ahead of its counterparts isn't just its 'feel-bad' stature, but how it explores the pain of a man's will to live; how we rage against the dying of the light.
Its reputation has matured in the decade since its release, but there's one critic who grasped its power from the off: Roger Ebert, who penned an extraordinary review explaining how he had to walk out of another film on the same day due to the emotional hangover from The Grey.
'It was the first time I walked out of a film because of the previous film. The way I was feeling in my gut, it just wouldn't be fair to the next film... there's time for some conversation among the men, and this film, directed by Joe Carnahan and written by him and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, treats them as individuals. They're not simply a group of victims,' he wrote.
'The Grey advances with pitiless logic. There are more wolves than men. The men have weapons, the wolves have patience, the weather is punishing. I sat regarding the screen with mounting dread. The movie had to have a happy ending, didn't it? If not 'happy', then at least a relief in some sense? Sit through the entire credits. There's one more shot still to come. Not that you wouldn't be content without it.'
The Grey is available to stream on-demand.
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