This review comes, with my thanks, from my Facebook friend Gary ...
I have a very mixed reaction to the movie. On several counts it was done very well. The acting was actually pretty decent all round. The portrayal of working class men and their crass and crude manner was spot on. Most of the movie was within what I call "plausibility". The exception was the plot where they are relentlessly stalked by a pack of wolves. I have never heard of such a thing and don't think that would ever happen in nature. Contrary to what folks think, that wolves don't attack people, they do. It's rare but it happens. I think they should have used Grizzly bears instead of wolves for the antagonists. However, if you overlook that small detail, the story becomes one of survival and who will fall by the way more quickly than others. Some people really do seem as if they were made to be prey. There is also the question of religious faith in this movie and I personally did not find it as satisfactory being a person of faith. The movie seems to take the view that God is not there but it's man's noble purpose to fight to the end out of self sustained courage. There is a subtle existentialist flavor here.
Overall, I guess it was a good movie but not the best movie either. There are lots of references to the lead character played by Liam Neeson where his wife had died tragically and he was in deep mourning over this. The similarities to Neeson losing his own wife are there and it makes his portrayal all to convincing. I particularly liked the theme of inner pain and suffering and the consequent despair which is overcome daily (barely) and the will to survive even though there might not be much reason to. Not every character decides to go on under even less grim circumstances as Neeson's character. There was the hoped for cleverness of sturdy men finding ways to use what they had in hand to survive which I always like to see. The plane crash was particularly well done and how it must seem to those in the cabin. I would rate this movie a 6 out of ten. I recommend it but with reservations. Don't expect to walk away happy. The ending was not well received by the audience or yours truly. This movie is clearly in the genre of the realism school. Because of that you won't feel the same as when you watched "Jeremiah Johnson" or "The Edge". This is one movie that is best watched with thoughtfulness. It holds up well to reflection and understanding and in that way most satisfactory. Go see it.
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