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In the Dark

Howling at the Heavens

The Grey
Produced by 1984 Private Defense Contractors in association with Liddell Entertainment
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Script by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers from Jeffers’ story
Distributed by Open Road Films

 

We tell one another stories to help us face death, knowing the stalker to be ever at our heels.

Not that all narratives end with death, but can you think of a worthwhile story in which mortality doesn’t haunt the pages—or in the case of film, the frames—if only from a distance?

Some stories are more monomaniacal about this stalking than others.  Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” comes to mind.  Its plot concerns a nameless man who presumes to be self-sufficient enough to take on the Alaskan wilderness alone, until nature in the form of 50-below temperatures closes in on him remorselessly.

Director Joe Carnahan’s The Grey shares London’s fatalism.  It’s based on a story by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers in which eight or nine plane-crash survivors find themselves exposed to the elements on a stretch of forsaken Alaskan tundra.  (What with storms and scattered wreckage, I couldn’t be sure of the exact number.)  They’re members of an oil-drilling team who had been flying to Anchorage when they...

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