Did You Hate the Ending to 'The Grey'? Why?

Liam Neeson in The Grey
Photo: Open Road Films

NOTE: As if the headline wasn't warning enough, the ending to The Grey will be spoiled in this post, and most likely further in the comments, so if you haven't seen the movie it may be best to stay away from this post until you have.

I mentioned in Sunday's box-office wrap-up how I went over to IMDb's message boards over the weekend and saw several people upset with the ending of The Grey in which Liam Neeson's character stumbles into the wolves' den and knuckles up for some man vs. wolf action. Just before the fur flies, director Joe Carnahan cuts to black and the film ends. This decision has left several miffed...

From what I can gather, there are two different camps upset with this ending. The first is upset the scene that dominated conversation from the trailer, in which Neeson breaks tiny liquor bottles and tapes them to his knuckles before taking on the Alpha wolf, not only comes at the very end of the film, but is cut short and never delivered.

I can understand this frustration, primarily because the audience was sold on the belief what comes next would be a part of the movie and this kind of imagery was the #1 reason they plunked down their money in the first place. Okay, age-old complaint, moving on...

Now, the other camp is upset because the film ends at this point without offering up what they believe was the film's climax and therefore without it the film is incomplete. And I doubt they are any more satisfied by the end credits scene, which is equally, if not more so, ambiguous. This group's sentiments are on display in a comment from an IMDb user by the name of "joehult" who posts:

I agree, just end your *beep* movie...

I wasted my two hours and $10, the very least you can give us a definitive answer. If I'm suppose to use my own interpretation, I would have written my own script.

This isn't the first time in recent history that trailers have misled audiences so I'm not particularly interested in that argument, but I am interested in the latter conversation and the insistence by some that a film must absolutely spell and/or show everything to the audience to the point there is nothing left to discover on our own.

Personally, I felt the ending worked. Neeson's character is dead just as the poem he read sums up the entire film:

Once more into the fray.
Into the last good fight I'll ever know.
Live or die on this day.
Live or die on this day.

I mean, come on, there isn't much ambiguity left after that is there? If you want reason as to why Carnahan went this way, he discussed the scene with the DailyBlam and said:

"I had a different version of the ending that we shot that's this big blowout with Liam and the wolf... maybe I'll put it out as a deleted scene. I didn't want to hand feed anything to the audience, I want to make them think about the film and extrapolate their own conclusion. But there's a scene that plays after the credits that's really fun. I did that for pure artistic expression. [People] that we've shown it to cheered."

My gut instinct tells me Carnahan is shying just a little from one of the reasons the fight was never actually shown. My guess would be the fight between Neeson and the wolf probably ended up looking a little cheesy and far less climactic than originally anticipated and at that point nothing could live up to expectation or what the audience could imagine on their own.

Up to that point in the film, most of the wolf vs. human fight sequences were shot at night, featuring gory close-ups of the action rather than what would have been required of that scene had he actually shown it. In short, I think it's a good thing it was cut from the film for those reasons, but even more so because how would it have helped and where would the film have gone from there?

Photo: Open Road Films

Imagine a scenario where we see Neeson die fighting the wolf. What next? Do we get cliched voice over of his wife telling him it will be okay? Do we get a voice over of him once more reading, "Live and die on this day"? Would that kind of cliched ending really satisfy you?

What if he lives? Would we see him Medevaced to safety just in the nick of time? How would that have spoken to the larger theme of the story?

Had either of those scenarios actually played out on film do you honestly believe the ending would have actually been better? Would it have improved the film?

Of course, now I am asking you to imagine scenarios, which if you are in the camp that's upset at the ending you don't even want to think of what could have happened. You would prefer not to do any of the thinking for yourself. You paid your $10, but you didn't pay for story, you paid solely to watch Liam Neeson fight a wolf. That is a mindset I have no argument against.

The concept of "give the audience everything and leave nothing to the imagination" is the new Hollywood motto. I even believe The Grey gives us too much. I'd actually argue with Carnahan saying that, outside of the film's ending, he did "hand feed" the audience far too much back-story and too many flashbacks as I discussed in my review. This is actually why the ending is one of the best parts of the film.

Was the ending ambiguous? Yes, in that it didn't show you what happened. Is that necessarily a bad thing? I would agree it doesn't work for all films, but I think it works for this one just as it worked for... The Wrestler to name only one.

  • http://talesofthegeeklanterncorps.blogspot.com/ Brian

    Totally agree with you here. I actually really like the ending, and then that feeling immediately got replaced by anger for my fellow viewers when seemingly every other person in theater groaned as the credits started.

    • Jay

      (courage)It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.

    • Bena

      If you watch the film PAST the credits there is a 4 second scene which will help understand the film better. Why the producers put the scene in here when everybody would have left the cinema or turned the DVD off is a mystery, but it helped with the story.

    • Brad

      Is it just me, or was the ending an allegory of the two packs finally ending one another? Throughout the movie there were connections drawn between the two groups. Consider the "alpha dog" fight that occurred both with the wolves and the group. The final cut is to show that both alphas ended each other, bringing the movie to a close.

    • Daniel

      Q: Is Liam's character experiencing euphenasia in his real life, and the cold-Alaska part of the movie is a manifestation of what his mind is experiencing as he dies. He might have been about to die (so he manifest suicide) but he holds on a little longer. He gets a little closer to death, the plane crashes (the plane beeps like an EKG). As his death roll continues, his mind manifest a group. He tells the first dying man that death warmly covers you (or something like that), but he's wrong, death comes at you like a pack of hungry wolves. He fights to keep different parts of himself (the group) alive, but he loses them little by little, and his fight with the Alpha is his last breath--it's and over before you know it. The scene before the end shows him with a syringe by his bed. I did not stay for the last scene (after the credits) so I could be totally off my rocker. If you know this, or know I am way off, please let me know. Thanks.

      • K Frasu

        Very interesting perspective.....

      • Olivia

        I believe the last scene you're referring to that shows a saline drip next to a hospital bed is actually in reference to his wife. In the beginning of the film, we're led to believe she left him by choice (divorce, separation...), but I think this imagery is meant to show the viewer that she died a slow death and didn't leave him willingly. The flashback illustrates that Liam's character is preparing to join her (she's beckoning him from the hereafter).
        I also need to make an important correction about the poem he was quoting at the end of the film. The last two lines are actually "Live AND die on this day, Live and die on this day", not "Live OR die on this day". I think this is a very important distinction, as it sets the tone for the entire film. It's meant to illustrate that most of us never prepare for our death while we're living, even though it's inevitable. Meaning we truly begin to live once we face the inevitability of our own death, and only then can we face death valiantly. Liam's character development is interesting because we see that he hasn't internalized the meaning of the poem at the beginning of the film when he attempts to shoot himself even though he's quoting it all the way up until he sticks the barrel in his mouth (he's only focusing on death). Conversely, at the end of the film when Liam faces a death that's beyond his control (not by his own hand), we see that he's begun to truly internalize the meaning of LIVING on the day that he dies (now choosing to acknowledge the value of life).

    • Matthew

      Endings of movies hardly ever satisfy me. However, this was possibly the best ending of any movie, ever, period. Not sure why people are so upset at this ending just because they didn't see a fight between Liam and the Alpha. The ending answered so many questions that you might have had throughout the movie, and the emotion was overwhelming. They perfectly executed the goal that they had for the ending.

    • John

      if you watch theend scene after the credits, Neeson isn't moving, so you assume he is dead, and the wolf is next next to him and is breathing. But the film end as the wolf takes its final breath. Showing how both groups ended each other.

  • chewbaca69

    I thought it was fairly obvious that he died but went down swinging. His arc was going from this dude that was about to shoot himself and had completely given up on life, to a guy who while accepting death wasn't going to go down that easy. I mean, he couldn't punch alll the wolves.

    • Alisha

      If liam was to kill the ALPHA he would be respected in the clan almost as a leader. He could have gotten out of there but i think its just more for your imagination. When i saw it i only saw the wolf at the end take it final breath ....you dont know what could mean ..just sayin

  • Tom

    The ending was so memorable, I'm glad they didn't include the actual fight since it might have not me our expectations. I think why a lot of people were mad is because they expected the actual fight since it was shown in the trailer, so the ending was a bit unexpected to them.

  • Bob

    I didn't hate it. I would say that I was surprised where/when the scene was placed and that we didn't see the action. Had they not highlighted that part in the trailer, you wouldn't be hearing people complain about it.

  • cdub

    uhhh, everyone is fixated on the ending? this movie, unfortunately for me, is being judged on one thing: YOU CANNOT SURVIVE THAT LONG IN ICE COLD WATER. ....thumbs down, way to ruin a potentially great film.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I feel people aren't focused on that because it's a movie and you have to give it leeway in some instances. Though I will say the scene in the ice cold water was a bit of a stretch even if you are giving the film any kind of room to breathe in terms of believability.

    • ken

      Actually you can survive about 3 hours in negative 30 F water. This is coming from a doctor with over 20 years experience.

      • BeauW

        3 hrs? Seriously? You can't live 30 minutes without specialized equipment like high quality wet-suit. Ottway even shed his jacket at the end. It's insulative effects would have been minimal anyway, but without i, and being soaking wet, he would have be gone in just a few minutes. I once fell through ice on a river into 2 ft of water. I almost instantly lost feeling and had great difficulty walking out.

      • Physical

        negative 30 doctor? really? Is this what you learn in medical school, or do they not teach important things like at what temperature water freezes. You are probably the same doctor who told all the Titanic passengers to forgo the lifeboats, they can just wait patiently in the water for rescue.

        • Angela

          Although I have no idea how long a human body can survive in those conditions, water with salt in it can reach -30, depending on saturation content.

          • Physical (everyone else has this nick)

            Well a river would not have a lot of salt, but keep in mind nowhere in the movie was it stated that the water is -30 degrees... this was just a comment by the user who said he was a doctor. So if a body can survive 3hrs in -30 degrees (if that's true) imagine the water of the river's survivability.

      • Cyn

        Rubbish. 3 hours survival, the water has to be a higher temp. than 30. It's 15 minutes to 45 minutes max.

        If you don't know this, than you are not a doctor.

    • duff

      uh ya you can, if your body already been trained for the cold,there has been and still are a lot of people who swim in water that cold and even colder. Now surviving that long out of the water with wet clothes in that environment.... that is something that's hard to believe.

  • Stephan Olbina

    "The Grey" is my recent favorite movie. I rate it a 10 out of 10. I love the ending.

  • Fan

    I agree the ending work because he would've died anyways... the other wolves... he left his jacket... he would've died if he'd killed the alpha... I would have like to see the fight, but I'm glad they didn't show it. And right when they cut, a lady in front of me whispered "that's it". I found that the ending work as you pointed out where would the film go then. There's no point. It'd also be disappointing to see him fight the alpha then die right after. I mean, he fought yeah but he's still going to die. We know he's going to fight til the end, taping the knife onto his hand and then the broken glass bottles, that means he gonna give it his all. I think that's good on the directors part, he's showing us that he's ready to fight til the death, there's no need to show us him fighting. He's been fighting through out the film. It'd also be disppointing if a plane comes down and recues him... that'll be to weak for this film, especially how it's been going. The theme to me is no hope, no matter how you want it to be... Like Chewbaca69 comment on he's a guy going about to kill himself then fights to survive, cursing at god... He's already lost everything his wife... and in the end hope. But that poem is about fighting, but it's also about excepting death too especially the repeat of that last line.

    • Tom

      I know there were some pretty tall tales in the movie but you have to admit that it ended the way it would in real life. They all died. The chances of them being found alive were zero being in the middle of nowhere, with their injuries, freezing temperatures,lack of supplies and just for good measure lets decrease their odds of survival to -30 by throwing in man eating wolves. The poem sums it up. Once more into the Frey. Frey defined battle, combat, struggle, contest. This is what we go through every day of our life, that's why it starts off with "Once more", it's always happening. I have so used this expression before when I knew it would be a hectic day at work. Into the last good fight I'll ever know. Every day he awoke, he stepped once more into the Frey to fight the last good fight he would ever know. Others gave up fighting the good fight, like he almost did in the beginning. You gotta fight for what you want in life or to keep what you already have, because people will take it if you don't . You might die today, so Each day could be the last good fight you'll ever know. Live and die on this day. Every day you live, you are one day closer to dying. When that time comes for you, will you be able to say you fought the good fight?

  • Owen

    What was shown in the post-credits scene? I didn't realize there was one so I left when the credits rolled (I too loved the ending).

    • 0ve

      Where Liam's head lies on the wolf, looks like the wolf is breathing or Liam is heavily breathing therefore it may seem as it was the wolf.

      • Tom

        Its the wolfs dying breath making Liam's head move, Notice no steamy breathing from Liam. He's dead and the wolf will soon join him.

  • http://thekingbulletin.com Danny King

    The only complaint I can understand here is the "audience expectation" one. Because, to me, this ending felt completely organic to the film to the point where, while Neeson started reciting the poetry near the conclusion, it was so obvious to me that Carnahan was going to end on that note. And I loved it.

    But honestly, for any viewer who was paying attention throughout the entire film, I think it's pretty clear that Carnahan and company weren't setting themselves us for a man-versus-wolves showdown, so for them to feel cheated is, to me, completely a result of the marketing rather than the film itself.

  • Scott

    My idea for a great movie: a five-second shot of a man and a woman in front of a burning building. Who are they? Married couple? Siblings? Strangers drawn together? Why is the building burning? What are the emotions of the characters? What does it all mean? Exactly. Your mind is free to really think for yourself. Your preconceived notions of "story" and "structure" are spat upon by the director brave enough to deliver such a powerhouse five seconds of ambiguous and thought-provoking filmmaking. Want more explanation? I'm sure Transformers 4 or GI Joe will spoon-feed you every little detail, if that's your thing. Personally, I need artistic integrity.

    • Josh

      Using Blockbuster films to highlight your point just ruined your WHOLE POINT. You can't honestly expect to be taken seriously when you advocate one film at the cost of making fun of another. Pathetic.

  • Jeremy

    The post credits was a close up of the wolf on the ground presumably dead.

    • Josh

      The wolf was breathing. This is so OBVIOUS it begs to question modern glasses. Breathing indicates..... NOT DEAD.

      • B

        I honestly had to think back to when he took down the wolf in the beginning and it was still alive for however many minutes laying there breathing and he rests his hand on it. I think he died but I also think he killed the alpha.

  • The Dead Burger

    Yeah, will someone explain in-depth the post-credits scene? Unfortunately, I didn't stick around to see it.

    Right. So the way I figure it, the ending is a lot like the ending to Inception: it doesn't matter what the outcome is - what matters is the choice the protagonist made.

    Here's why:
    1) In the beginning of the film, Ottway is about to kill himself. He's not in any danger of death, but he wants to die.
    2) Then, throughout the film, people who are injured or about to die let themselves slip off into "the grey" without really putting up a fight (the first guy after the plane crash, Glasses Guy falling off the rope, Diaz giving up after breaking his leg, Christian Guy letting himself drown).
    3) Finally, Ottway takes out all the men's wallets and looks at the pictures of their loved ones. It is then that he decides that life is worth living. The point of him gearing up to fight the Alpha is to mirror his suicide attempt at the beginning of the film - at the end, he is faced with absolute, certain death, but he wants to live. He knows he can't win, but he fights anyway.

    So I think he died, without doubt. Even if he defeated the Alpha, there were plenty of other wolves there to finish him off.


    • drew

      I agree especially with point 3.
      The oddest thing about the film for me was actually the look of the film. In the beginning the images are drab and near monocrome, and particulary grainy. The plane wreck is just shadows against greywhite snow and grey sky. No color anywhere.
      as the story is told the characters slowly come to life, even as they are being killed. The skintone colors become more and more natural, the setting more and more pictuesque... the film itself becomes less and less grainy. The setting where the broken leg guy chooses to die is downright spectacular.
      even to the ending, the green moss in the trees becomes vibrant (a color most associated with springtime and rebirth) and the snow becomes a beautiful pure white...

      Yes... Ottman is filled with life as he heads to his death. His character has made a 180, as has the look and feel of the film.

      • bryan

        Like, wow, man! I noticed that about how it started out so hazy and grey, and how it cleared up once they'd entered the treeline, and I just put it down to trees stopping the wind from lifting up snow.
        But I really like how your idea ties in with the themes of the the movie. Can't believe I haven't seen this observation anywhere else. Well spotted, sir!

        "Ottman is filled with life as he heads to his death."
        I love that!

    • Kitkat9902

      Just rented this movie, and I think that Liam took on the alpha wolf with the broken bottles taped to his hands, and killed it with his late wife's words in his mind "don't be afraid."
      Liam is now the leader of the pack, and is seen sleeping with the wolves! This would keep him warm and protected. If he was killed by the wolves, i don't think his head would be resting on a wolf's body like that. Just my thoughts...

  • Scottishfury

    Loved the ending. C'mon people....if you wanted it all wrapped up in a neat little package for you, go see the latest Jason Statham vehicle and shut up about it.

    • Josh

      Another fucking retarded comment poking at a Blockbuster flick to make a point about a this one. Use your words, not other movies to make your point. That biased attitude can't be taken for serious.

  • JunJunM3

    I was hoping the end credits scene will have either Samuel Jackson or Downey Jr. swooping in as Neeson recovers from the fight and asks him to join their team and be part of something big.

    All joking aside. I loved the ending though I do understand the gripes of many.

  • Esmeralda

    I really liked the ending.We were a little disappointed but I am glad my son persuaded me to stay after the credits!! My son said that last scene "spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie" was the closure scene. LOVED IT!! The wolf laying there and still you are left speculating if indeed he was killed by Liam neeson or did they kill each other in the fight??? wow, I really liked it!! Finally a movie WORTH watching!!

  • Chris138

    The ending was awesome. People just complain too much.

    • Josh

      Bloody opinions eh? 7 Billion people on this planet. Get fucking used to it.

  • Steve R.

    I just saw it tonight, and I had no problem whatsoever with the way it ended. I thought it was a classy and stylish way to end the movie, which overall I quite enjoyed.
    It reminds me of some of the bellyaching we heard at how the Coen brothers ended No Country For Old Men. I liked the way that film ended as well, but it seems a lot of people nowadays want to be spoon fed everything, and put their brain into neutral.
    I would rather use my imagination, then always have it completely spelled out for me on screen.

  • Joe

    OK guys, Im on both sides of the fence here but I bet I know how the uncut version will go and if it does, I will be supper happy. I mean I loved this movie and it is now my all time favorite but hear me out.

    -Hero charges, Alpha charges
    -They have a devastating clash an some mutual damage ensues
    -after a few seconds of this the hero scores a good strike and the Alpha backs off for a second to renew his attack
    -They have a somewhat less than graceful but quick and very "final" bout
    -Hero stumbles onto his feat and says something defient/powerful
    -movie ends

    You might consider it cliche but I think it would br freaken awsome

    • Mitch

      Hey - How about this scenerio.....did you notice how the other wolves backed off when the alpha came in for the fight? Did the alpha consider Ottman to be the "alpha" of his group? Maybe Ottman kills the alpha in a gruesome fight and emerges the new "alpha" of the group - the others leave him alone and he walks to the logging camp with a new lease on life? Hmmmmmmm.............

      • Daisy

        Mitch that is EXACTLY the scenario I had in mind!!! It seemed cheesy when I thought it but seeing it in someone else's words made it better lol. Anyways, if you asked me... i say he won the fight and survived... i mean we all know in real life... not a chance... he's screwed! But this IS a movie and they'd been beating the odds from the moment the plane crashed. So I'd like to imagine that he beat the odds on this fight as well and walked out a champ ...with everyone else's credit cards lol jk.

  • Law

    I love the ending, you come away with lots of ideas and images in your own imagination, and it really stays in your head after watching the film.

    In fact there have been a few films that I wished had ended earlier leaving a question mark over the characters survival, Dante's Peak being the main one, personally I want that particular film to end with the pull back from the old mine shaft and the beep of the beacon.

    But maybe that's just me...

  • Otto

    Although I was disturbed by the ending, I was very content to empathize with the character's bravery. Of course Ottway died. He may have killed the Alpha, but the rest of the wolves were going to defend the den. At the beginning of the movie, when Ottway was contemplating suicide, it was on his own terms. However, he was not OK with getting his ticket punched by wolves ripping him apart. His poem is about fighting to your last breath, no matter the odds or the consequences. Very Hemingway-esque.

  • shannon

    i loved the ending because it leaves you hanging. and plus there is room for a 2nd one. you think about it the man left on his own you assume he is dead but what if he isnt? they were the only two you didnt see die. maybe they survive and there is an rescue team. i think its fantastic. :)

    • Daisy

      Yes that also crossed my mind!!!

  • Winchester

    I saw the film today and will cover it more in this week's 'WIW, WYW' thread.

    But the ending is the only ending there could be. To have him live would have been to completely cheat and cop out from everything done until that moment.

    And I also think it was wise to cut the fight itself out for the simple reason that we can use our imaginations to figure it out. I don't feel it's necessary. The point of him choosing to fight and his journey there has already been covered. His arc is complete by the very action of accepting that he will now die, but will do it without rolling over meekly before he does. Plus we've already seen by that point three Wolf attacks and kills already. There is nothing you can show that would be any different and he would still have to die (preferably without any more cliches than the film already has, and it has several in abundance as it is) anyway.

    He's smack dab in the den - he ain't getting out even if we see him kill the Alpha.

    Anyway, I enjoyed it once it got going.

  • Chris

    I wasn't pissed off by the ending or anything, in fact I rather liked it, but I can understand the audience's frustration. I have no problem with ambiguous endings. My favorite movie of 2010 was Inception, and it's ending was ambiguous as all hell. Is it real? Is he dreaming? It doesn't matter, Leo's character is happily reunited with his family, and the audience has already gotten their fill of crazy, trippy action, so they accepted the ending despite its ambiguity. The problem with the ending of The Grey was that all of the advertising hyped that scene beyond belief. People flocked to the movie to see Liam Neeson beating the crap out of some wolves, it looked badass. By not showing it, they left audiences widely unfullfilled. It's the sad truth.

    Also, as a side note, if you kill the Alpha of a pack, the other wolves would most definitely stand down. And they do. In the post-credits scene, Ottway isn't being pulled apart by wolves or eaten to death. He fought to the death and took the Alpha with him, and they were both peacefully bleeding out. At least that's my theory.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    I think opinions on this will differ based on what the viewer thought the film was about... If you were watching the film and felt it was about these guys fighting off wolves - and that the wolves were the bad guys... yada yada... Sure, feel pissed off...

    But if you, like I, thought the picture was more about Ottway and his journey as a person and coming to terms with his life eventually, then I thought that then ending was perfect - because there's no doubt the guys done.

    If anything, I thought that the clip after the credits did the film a disservice... I felt THAT was a cop out. That was a compromise, and in my opinion one that should never have been made.

  • Mr Stark

    I went opening day and there was an audible audience gasp at the films conclusion. Most likely from the people who brought their ticket under the notion that Liam was gonna fist fight that wolf. I know Carnage Carnahan could have pulled that off if this was A-Team 2, but this was a much stronger film than that. A gripping film very aware of itself.
    "I wish some of those other guys would have made it."
    Great line and a powerful film. One of the good ones that you go to with your friends and debate about afterwards and pony up the dough to go see again to settle the arguments. Keep up the good work Joe!!
    I knew I should have stayed for the credits!!!

  • Ben

    The ending of this movie sucked for me if i knew this was going to happen i would have never seen it. Even though it is one of my top two picks the ending just ruin it for me. here i was sitting thinking there was going to be the last fight like in the quote which would have been the most bad ass scene ever but no. If that fight scene was shown then i would have this movie at the top of my list. Nothing over wise.

  • Jay

    Actually Folks. You have it all wrong. Liam Nelson Asked God to show proof he exists and that he needed help. Once you kill the Alpha of a wolfpack. YOU become the Alpha Dog. All other wolves obey and serve you. This has always been the Law of Nature. So he did in fact kill the alpha and the wolves would have stopped hunting him in Fear of their own death.

    • Kash

      What is this... I don't even... Yes that would have made a good ending. Except it would be even better if after becoming the "Alpha Dog", Ottway then mates with the females. Then they have these awesome Liam-wolf hybrids that take over the earth after a few hundred years.

      This is why everyone doesn't become a successful filmmaker. Most of our ideas suck.

  • DocBenway

    I thought the ending was perfect. The whole point of the movie is that to be human is to engage in a constant struggle against the odds. THAT is what makes us human: the fight. And not only that, but we fight and struggle EVEN WHEN THERE IS LITTLE OR NO CHANCE OF SURVIVAL OR SUCCESS. I just assumed he was killed in the fight. Doesn't matter. If he'd won, he'd have gotten killed by the other wolves, died of hypothermia, starvation, etc. There was no way he could win but he fought anyway. He had nothing to live for in the world, but he fought to stay alive anyway. I thought that Liam's character was an absurd hero ala Albert Camus's Myth of Sisyphus: we have to make our own meaning because we live in an absurd, godless universe. And that is enough. I loved the ending. Note #1) It reminded me of the ending of the series ANGEL which concluded with a similar rush into battle which creator Joss Whedon said was thematically the point but many fans bitched and moaned and didn't get it and claimed the show ended on the cliffhanger. Note #2) I never saw the trailer to The Grey so I didn't go into the movie jonesing for a huge Liam vs wolf blow-out fight.

  • The miz

    i will never watch another one of this directors movies ever again. this movie was like a woman teasing you for an hour then getting up and walking leaving you with blue balls. not cool

    • Kash

      Stop the whining. If you were one of the characters in the film, you would be that annoying guy who sits next to Ottway on the plane and dies when he falls behind.

      There are plenty of movies out there that spell everything out for you to the point of numbing your brain. I'm glad every now and then a movie comes out for the thinking man.

      • TheGreywasLAME

        I'm so sick of people saying this was ARTISTIC, LOL!!! If we are going to let movies like this keep coming out with No Ending then we can all be directors and scren writers... I wanted to see the last fight so let me see it.. $12 for a huge build up to "you decide how it ends?!?!" GIVE ME A BREAK, make a real movie, beginning to end.. LAME. Did you notice ridley scott helped produce this movie??? Did u see Prometheus??? Ridley just joined the george lucas club in my opinion. If you like this movie then your your like the character "john" who gives up at the end and just dies. Just like the director, just gives up at the end, no closure, just so called figure it out for youself BS. If you liked this movie then you probably like turning off movies halfway through and sitting in the living room pondering about how its going to end without ever knowing. I dont care if the wolf wins or not, we all got promised a fight scene and it wasnt delivered. LAME and you know all it, quit with the "it was artisitc" and "we didnt want to spoon feed the audience" BS!!! Such a cop out to the truth, lazy movie making.

  • Chris

    Disgusted by the ending, we know what happened. Neeson dies, the question is whether or not he can take the alpha down before doing so.

    The alpha taking a knife in the skull. Neeson falling over and the snow beginning to stain red with blood from his wounds as the rest of the pack closes in and the camera pans up vertically above him into a whiteout with the sounds of the pack below, that would have been an excellent ending.

  • BeauW

    It kinda surprises me the number of people who thought it was realistic. I'm sorry but the wolves looked fake. Besides the fact wolves usually don't attack people (especially multiple people), the whole point of getting down from the cliff was to escape the wolves who also ended up down below. Also, did no one else notice the wolves were being shot with a scoped rifle, but when the rifle was recovered (can't understand why it wasn't thawed before leaving the plane), the actual ammo appeared to be 12 gauge shotshells. Also, anyone with even a passing knowledge of ammunmition and firearms would know that a shotshell when unconfined by a chamber and barrel would just make a very minor explosion like a firecracker. In other words there would be nothing to direct the shot from the shell straight forward. I would most decidedly NOT be like a 'bang' stick, but more like a medium sized firecracker...it might sting or hurt...but only enough to piss the wolf off even more. Ottway would have, in real life, died of hypothermia before he ever got to face the final 'alpha' wolf anyway. I read one viewers review that it was a lot like a Jack london story. I understand why that comment was made, but London's story's were very realistic and mostly feasible if occasionally large than life.

    • Josh

      Have you ever heard of a slug? That's what some deer hunters use. Bullets don't explode into a mushroom cloud, the metal is propelled and tears through flesh. You are basing realistic on movie physics, not REAL physics. Note* The wolves were below, because he was getting closer to the den. The hypothermia part I can understand, however adrenaline can do amazing things, combined with him being in survival mode. There have been numerous cases of people surviving more.

      Yes at times, the wolves didn't look 100% real, but that's a minor point to what the movie was about. It was not man vs wolf.. it was man surviving.

  • John

    When Neeson hollered up at the sky, asking for a sign from God, nothing happened, no plane, no rescue. He certainly had no reason to become a man with any type of faith at this point. Staggering through the woods, I think his gas tank had reached E. To me it seemed obvious that he was about to lay in the snow and fall asleep forever, next to the wallets of the other victims. Then he realizes that he’s in the wolfs den. One last spark is lit from the dying embers of his soul. At the very end, through his memories of his wife and the one thing he remembered about his father, that poem, he decides that life was worth fighting for, regardless of faith. Perhaps him realizing this was the miracle, whether he knew it or not?

  • Johansen


  • Johansen

    I agree that the ending was probably shot and found to be way too cheesy, so this "artistic" don't show the audience technique was falsely substituted. When I was quite young, I used to view movies which had special effects similar to this one at least as far as the portrayal of the wolves are concerned. As I grew older, friends and myself included would laugh at how amateurish such scenes really looked. You would think that by 2012, we as an audience would be able to view scenes of wolf fights which actually looked real, rather than these scenes. They can't use real wolves these days because of PETA and PC and such, so we are treated to a bunch of cinematic garbage and then told the would be ending is for us to ponder supposedly because of the artistic purposes thought of beforehand by the almighty knowitall better than us people who took away our money while probably laughing at us.

    • Rick Crane

      Uh, they did use real wolves in this film...My friend worked on the film, so I know for sure...They used real wolves for most scenes except for the close ups of them biting , in which animatronic copies were used...Those were created by KNB efx out of hollywood..CGI wolves were only in two shots in the film..BTW, I saw photos of the animatronic insert heads, and they look exactly like actual wolves...So what did you see that was laughable or looked fake???Be specific....

  • ggg

    I find it interesting that people spend time watching the whole movie, but couldnt spend just a bit more time till the credit finish...

    you get to see the outcome after the final wolve fight.

  • Angela


    i personally think that people's frustration is due, in main, to the fact they dont get to see man take on wolf and overcome nature in a death defying act of killing.

    But there is a clear ending and it, in fact, leaves little ambiguity other than to your own personal battles and choices.

    To stop sounding like such a snob, I will put another way. this whole film is about choices. Our paths, who and when we choose to fight, when we chose to fall, to die, to live. this ending gives us that choice.

    I really dont think a black mound of fur taking a deep breath is a particularly good sign for the wolf, but it is designed to leave just enough ambiguity to enable us to engage with our questions, which is what this film strives to do. revolve and engage us in the question of the choice of survival.

    Final point, those who thought that the ending is just a big black mound breathing are wrong, this films ending started as soon as they left that plane, they were going to die, and we found out that despite the odds, one could have survived and he did so on journey where he chose to survive in order to continue to engage with the world he lived in. When in fact before he left he we knew he wanted to choose to die. this opens up several questions, does he want to live, why does he want to continue to live, why would he ever want to choose to die, can he fight and over come his demons. All these questions are answered! all loose ends tie up, no questions left unanswered? What more do you want. To see some blood?

    'you should only choose to survive, if the world you are in is worth surviving for' this film was about the choice behind continuing to go on and find love, life, even when his when there seems nothing left, to continue to fight and dare to live - to find love and hope in others, the world and yourself. he was reborn on this journeu, he found his life and he probably kept it. I dont understand what the life of the wolf has to do with it? Other than I hope it was allowed it live also.

  • Physical

    I liked the ending before the credits. The post credits ending was just *eh*, would have liked post credits ending more if it was Liam taking his last breath and the wolf with his paw on his chest. *fade to black*

  • will G

    I watched "The Grey" last nite. I thought the movie was amazing and inspiring. I don't know why anyone would hate the ending. The wolves represented death and even though he knew he was going to die, he told himself he would die trying. If they would have showed him beating some wolves ass at the end it wouldn't have been as dramatic. Especially after we hear what went on about his wife. I loved the ending, and thought it fit the movie and its theme.

  • JEAN

    Have to agree with BEAUW RE: The bangstick theory and the difference in the weaponry used. I thought the same thing. Granted, a major reason to go to the movie is to escape from the ordinary. However, I was having to suspend belief quite a lot throughout this, and I only choose to because I like Neeson so much. However, this was no "Taken"! (Also another exercise in belief suspension due to Neesom favoritism..) I just felt cheated by the hype of the promos; Neeson is going to kick ass and stand strong against the wolves, etc. Thought it was interesting the turn in humanizing the characters, especially Diaz, who I wanted to be wolf bait #1, at first. I had heard last night that there was an answer of sorts, in the credits. Which, from everything I've surmised, leaves you with an ending not unlike those children's books that let you choose your own ending. Sounds like a conflict with the production team to me....ah well, a little ticked with the ending, but overall, it's no biggie....told my SO I'll be picking the next cinematic offering...

  • David Moloney

    You are all forgetting one thing. He is Irish.
    He kills the wolf, skins him to make a jacket (for the guys talking about the fact that without his jacket he won't survive). Having killed the Alpha, the rest wont go near him.
    then he finds a big bear, softens him up a bit and rides him home.

  • Sam


  • sheikyerboutti

    Here's what happened in the end. Farley Mowat( author of Never Cry Wolf) got so enraged by the ludicrous, false portrail
    of canis lupis in this film he clubbed Liam Neeson and the Alpha wolf to a pulp. You all need to see the movie 'never cry wolf ' This is how real wolves really act.

  • sheikyerboutti

    But what do I know? I just spelled portrayal wrong

  • SJ

    It's all an allegory for death, you know. Some people think it's about the death of Ottway's wife, but I personally think it's about Ottway's own death. Remember how John Ottway knew what death was like? That's because he had already experienced it, or was just on the verge of experiencing it in real life. Fighting with the wolves was a death dream, basically, metaphorically taking him through the stages of his illness. That's why it doesn't matter that wolves don't really attack people in this way, because this isn't reflective of reality.

    The flashbacks to his wife were memories of her telling him it was going to be okay -- the kind of thing someone tells their loved one as they die. The last flashback shows the IV briefly, because Ottway is in reality hooked up to an IV in a bed with his wife at his side. (Others think it's the memory of his wife dying before the crash; either interpretation is valid IMHO.)

    All the people who survive the crash are metaphorical parts of Ottway. The first guy picked off is killed when he's urinating -- when terminally ill, control of everyday functions is often the first thing to go. Then as Ottway fights the illness, he loses other parts of himself. The man who died from hypoxia represents Ottway needing to be on a respirator because he can't breathe by himself anymore. When Ottway is trying to revive that man (and later Hendrick) it's probably based on the memory of medical personnel in his real life trying to revive HIM.

    Hendrick dying is Ottway losing his faith, that's why immediately afterward he demands God prove himself. Diaz's first name turned out to be the same as Ottway's; Diaz represented one of Ottway's choices in how to face the illness, i.e. lay down, look at the beauty of nature and slowly fade out. Ottway didn't take that choice, he decided to fight it.

    The final scene after the credits is a callback to the very early scene where Neeson is feeling a wolf breathe its last. We're seeing the wolf and, I suppose, Neeson taking their least breath at the end of the film.

    I think the publicity was misleading, and I know I was in a theater full of people who didn't get it in the least. They laughed, yawned, played with the ice in their cups, texted, and shouted "That's IT?" at the end of the film. They expected an action adventure. If it had been marketed or if more reviews picked up on the allegorical nature of the film, less people would be angry right now... but less people would have gone to see the film.

    • lis

      Really like your interpretation! Quite original ;)

    • Coco

      Sj's read seems right to me. The IV was on Neeson's side of the bed, not the wife's

    • wowohwow

      great review, your and ferg's made me see the movie in a totally different light..thx!

  • Cyn

    I could care less about seeing a fight. That's not what the movie was about.

    And if you cared enough to sit through the credits, you'll quite clearly see a final shot of the wolf lying dead, with a lump that can only be Liam Neeson lying dead just out of focus, behind the wolf.

    So you DO get an ending.

  • Jason

    First if you haven't seen the movie (or even if you have and you didn't watch the credits) you HAVE to watch the credits because there's a scene AFTER THE CREDITS.

    I had no problem with the ending but I kinda knew Neeson wasn't going to make it. It usually showed his wife/girlfriend lying down so I figured she was dead and death would end his pain. After the suicide attempt it was a no-brainer.

    They also made the wolves into supernatural beasts which I understand because you don't have much of a movie with real wolves that are simply large dogs, but what about the plane's transponder...couldn't search and rescue teams follow the signal to the crash site? Maybe the weather was too bad but it didnt' make sense to move. The weather would clear eventually. And how did the wolves get down the cliff so easily? A rock feature like that usually extends a long way. I mean if the wolves just walked around it why couldn't the survivors? And if you're walking towards the den it seems like you would notice an increase in wolf activity. You might not see the wolves but wouldn't there be other signs...tracks in the snow and/or scat. It wasn't snowing that hard towards the end but an 'expert' like Ottway should've noticed the tracks and the direction the wolves were moving throughout the film.

    • Lisa

      Thank you!! I know movies are not alway logical, but I just couldn't understand how the wolves were able to get past the steep cliffs and the survivors couldn't wihout the makeshift zip line. And also, walking into the wolves' den without realizing it until it was too late didn't make a bit of sense to me espcially since Ottway was so familiar with wolves. Further, am I the only one who didn't understand why the plane crashed in the first place? Was it too high in the air? Did the engine freeze because of the cold. So many questions. I don't think the movie was awful, just not what I expected.

      • Cyn

        It doesn't matter why the plane crashed.

        Including reasons why it crashed would have been superfluous and turned it into another movie.

      • Cece

        In the scene when the plane is experiencing extreme turbulence, and ottway wakes up, he looks out the window and there are thick layers of ice on the wings. If you recall when they were boarding, the ground crew were removing ice from the nose of the plane , I felt this was a bit of foreshadowing.
        S.N am I the only one who believes he was dead from the moment he "attempted" suicide and that in fact the whole movie was him going though a state of Limbo.

        • ferg

          He Cece i wrote about this about a month ago. I'm glad someone else got it too!

  • ImBooToo

    I'd give this film a 9 out of 10.
    The way the film ended was unexpected yet I liked it tremendously.
    What I haven't seen anyone here mention is that after the few moments of a black screen, there a couple views of the wolve's fur moving up and down against the snow.
    Which left me wondering - was it the wolf dying on the snow, that he killed it?
    Was the wolf sleeping/resting/lying on the snow, digesting his meal?
    Or perhaps - maybe perhaps -- he killed the wolf, and was beneath it's hide sleeping, and the breathing movements of the fur were actually him breathing and sleeping beneath the fur?
    I think this is the best movie I've seen this actor in.
    I wish they would have made the mountain scenery clearer and showed it's beauty.
    I thought they could have paused and tried to catch some fish in the river when the one man was too tired to go on and they just left him behind.
    Having been lost in the mountains once, having faced a mountain lion once in the mountains in winter in deep snow, and having rapelled once off a mountain, I could relate to some elements of the movie.
    What I thought could have been done was that they would have fashioned machetes out of the airplane wreckage - metal shards to ward off and slay the wolves.
    Also, they could have tried to start a forest fire to attract the attention of airplanes, satellites, etc.
    I thought they should've tried to talk the guy that gave up at the river into hanging in there, even if it meant fashioning a sled and dragging him along.
    I did wonder - did anyone ever have to pee? It would've made it more realistic if someone had during the film, like when they were by the campfire. They could have brought out the characters more before the plane crash, so you'd care more about the others rather than the main character. Also they could have fashioned bows and arrows as weapons. There was so much wreckage at the plane, it didn't seem like they took hardly anything with them. And when someone would die, I thought they should have salvaged what usable warm clothing that person had. I think they should have shown more vivid scenery of the wolves in the daytime as mostly they were shrouded in darkness. One ending that would have been interesting - say he came face to face with the Alpha wolf at the end -- and the wolf walked over to him as he was kneeling in the snow, after having looked at those photos. Remembering how he cried out to God, this scene could have been used to show how his faith became rekindled. The wolf could have walked slowly over to him. and say held out his paw (like he was going to shake).
    And then, the wolf would bow his head to him, showing he acknowledge that the man was the leader of the pack, and would turn and walk away in the falling snow.
    And that would be the miracle he prayed for - and the pack would go away, and he would start out again and stumble upon a cabin with an old ham radio in it or something that would allow him to establish communication with the outside world, and he would be rescued and reunited with his wife. That would have been a satisfactory ending to me.

    • HarryHoudini

      What shit have you been smok'n ImBoo of course there is a million things you can think of if you are thinking rationally, but don't forget these guys have just fallen out of the sky, been attacked by a pack of wolves blood and guts everywhere do you really think any of them would have been thinking straight. Most of them would have been dumb assed laborers (no MacGyvers here) all they were thinking was "Survival" and under those conditions it was always going to be Wolves & Mother nature - 1 survivors - 0.
      As for the ending it worked for me and this was no fairy tale so no happy ending in sight more so reality and as for asking for help of the "Almighty" were was he when those planes crashed into the twin towers and a million other times that man has met horrible deaths, speaks for itself I think.

    • go watch Taken

      If you want a happy end to the killing go watch Taken... there is a sequel coming out after all. But here on planet earth NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE!!!! Do you think you're going to just go on living forever? some of the other posts here have it right, this is about the mind facing death not a linear story about survival. I mean seriously!!! the Den just materializes around him he was walking through trees!! and its in a valley not the flat area he was walking through!!! dont even try the he just didnt notice it line.

      Simply put this takes place in the mind of one person. seriously watch it again... almost every line can be interpreted as being about it. Not quite the obvious twist of say a Fight Club but a twist none the less. You gotta earn this one people

  • Cheryl

    It wasn't so much the ending that I disliked (although I wish I'd known about the credit-scene and stayed for that), but the execution of the movie. Doesn't anyone else have an issue with the completely cheezy special effects?! The wolves were so bad.
    And so many plot-holes: Why didn't the wolves attack the 3 remaining men after Mulroney's character? They had no fire and were right in the same vacinity. There was no consistency. Why didn't the men have fire at all times when they stated early on it was the only way to keep the wolves away. Why did the wolves suddenly stop chasing the 2 men along the river? And no one could survive walking for miles in freezing cold, completely soaked clothes. He wasn't even shivering.
    I thought it could have been so much better but better effects and some consistency!

    • HarryHoudini

      Well Cheryl there wasn't enough in the budget for some serious MF bad-ass CGI TWILIGHT Wolves or else I am sure they would have rolled them out. Instead they went for the lame robotic or guys with a fake fur suit over them type of wolves that were fully believable for me you just needed to squint a little more so you couldn't see them properly like I did. Now if you are looking for consistency in any Hollywood then good luck I think Bollywood is more what you should be looking at. As for the freezing part and soaked clothes this is Liam John Neeson here the guy is bullet proof or haven't you seen his other movies to date. If I picked every movie apart that came out of Hollywood they would stop being enjoyable so light'n up on the movie makers and show a little imagination keeps me laughing anyways

    • go watch Taken

      Yes dreams have plot holes... and they don't make sense. See Inception. Difference is this mind is dying not simply dreaming... You got part of it though... read this whole board then you will understand.

  • Mark

    Amazing ending, the fact the two last lines of the poem are the same would symbolize that both liam's character and the wolf died

    • Chris

      excellent point. Well done sir!

  • adu

    I have always been borderline about these open endings, in this movie it really worked well I thought, but in No Country For Old Men, it was quite frustrating (though I love that movie). So just like anything, this stuff is purely subjective.


    Hollywood does a lot of this, of late - I think they are so focused on the opening-weekend box office that they don't worry about longer term word of mouth, or the risks of setting people up for one kind of movie, and then giving them another.

    THE GREY, I thought, was a gripping, riveting, SMART movie about facing death. About what it really means to be "heroic" - not fearless, but having fear and carrying on anyway. About how there is a lot of beauty in life, and you should appreciate that and savor it, because yeah, there are times when life is going to kick the @#$#@ out of you, and how there is a dignity to going on even WHEN that happens.

    Unfortunately, the ads led folks to expect "LIAM NEESON: WOLFPUNCHER". Too bad, really.

    And I didn't need to see Liam's last stand. To me, it was better imagined. I know he went out fighting.

    AND -- SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS -- if you stay past the credits, you see a tight shot of the Alpha wolf, down (you really just see its chest, slowly rising and falling like the shot wolf at the start), and past its body, leaning against it, facing away, is Neeson (his back is to us so we can't see the probably awful damage he has taken), and his head moves, so he is alive at this point. Whether he will be alive in two minutes, no clue, and kind of beside the point; I doubt he survives but ... feel free to speculate. He IS still wearing that "tracking watch", right? ;-) But I think, kind of like the ending to 300, this wasn't about surviving, that wasn't in the cards, it was about going out on Liam's terms, going down swinging.

    • Cyn

      Excellent post, Shadow.

      I actually couldn't quite make out Neeson in the background - I just assumed the lump was him. Way to go catching his head moving.

      I agree - seeing the fight wasn't important, that's not what the movie was about.

      Of course, the studio advertising it for nth excitement degree are just playing their usual game.

  • Dorrel

    I really enjoyed the movie...even the end....because it left to total up the entire play of the movie, myself...being that I'm a moviewatcher, an loves movies..
    THUMBS UP!!! Great, Great Movie....i really enjoyed it!

  • hiathere

    it's obvious he got pwned by the alpha wolf. wolves are not to be fucked with silly humans.

  • hiathere

    I'm glad I didn't pay for this piece of shit film. you show a trailer pumping up a wolf slaying movie and then i am watching the god damn time left in vlc player and it's almost near the end and im like fuck we aint gonna see no god damn wolf vs man fight scene.

  • Pain

    Sounds to me like some people didn't stay after the credits.... It ends like the first wolf he shot. Whether he dies or not he took it down... He killed the Alpha. Part of you could try to imagine that the other wolves don't want anything to do with him after he killed their leader. Other part of you could conclude that he dies with the alpha... Either way i think it was a great movie.

  • Mike

    The ending was memorable, and left you thinking about it. How many hollywood movies do we watch, that when they end, you move on and can't wait to get your entertainment from the next film? Its boring, and its not provocative.

    This movie provokes questions, and makes you think about it. Well, the ending did, they could have done alot more parts of the movie like they did the ending, but you know what... when it ended, I didn't go look for another movie to watch, I came online and googled the film to talk about it...

    • Moe B

      you have a very good point, I think i only googled like 2-3 movies after watching them in my entire life. I loved the movie, and I made my own speculation to what happened after the movie ended

  • yoinkie

    This was a good/great movie absolutely destroyed by the final 10 minutes. The writer's should be banished to the woods themselves. Whats the point of having a survival movie, when everyone bows out at the end? And the way they did it was the worst part of all. One man, quits LIFE because he doesnt feel like walking on a sprained ankle. Another man, survives the entire movie, only to meet his demise by the way of fluke drowning. And then the cowardess ending, in which the writer didnt know how to end a movie, so he took the wimp way out.

    I've watched many, many, movies in my life, and this movie's final 10 minutes ranks up there with the worst of all time.

  • http://none illogical

    For the record, badass movie. I expected more hollywood but got something better then that.

    I agree that the last two deaths were inadequate and also felt forced. As if they ran out of ideas to kill the rest off.

    For the sprained ankle/ knee guy. Why did he/they at no point bother with making a splint? not like finding a branch would have been hard and using a shirt to tie it down. First thing I would have done.

    The entire water scene was too much. Getting your clothes soaked in those conditions is guaranteed death unless you can somehow immediately start a fire and dry off while battling your body slowing shutting down. For that matter, if pulling straight up on the guy doesn't work the first time, why wouldn't you dive down and see if you can assess the situation. No possible way that pulling the ankle horizontally wouldnt have gotten it free.

    Ending Talk

    I would have preferred if the final 3 made it to the wolf fight and they all geared up as badass as Liam. He can recite the same poem with the other two in the background and then go straight to the lunge. Removes the cheesy killings of the last two and still solidifies the theme of the movie.

    Ending scenario 2. If the wolves, the gun, the cold are all metaphors for death and Liams actions signify fighting to the death and never giving up. Then it would seem to me if Liam and the alpha went head to head and traded blows then backed up for an epic staredown. The alpha could then back off insinuating the fight isnt worth it for him and thereby staring death in the face and winning.

    Unfortunate part with that is Liam is dead unless some rescue copter comes by or he trudges half a mile and finds some toasty cabin. Regardless, there were avenues that don't remove the artistic value from the movie and may satisfy mainstreamers a bit more as well.

  • Moe B

    I don't think that Liam Neeson died, he might've been hurt.. but the alpha I would think is definitely dead, since at the start of the movie, he shoots a wolf from a far. But before the wolf dies he breaths really slowly like what was at the end of the credits.. and also the other wolves, I don't think they would do a thing, since he took down their alpha.. I don't know, just my opinion

  • jair

    wasn't there retaliation within the wolf pack? some just wanted to let them be,

    in the scene, its night the characters here all that raucous coming from the woods the alpha wolf gets challenged but the challenger dies.
    the alpha was determined to kill them.

    i think if liam's character would of won, the pack might of left.

  • bill

    The ending is obvious,they are both laying there dying.What is the big debate about.If you paid attention while watching the movie it's appropriate.If you want to see man vs wolf fights go rent one of the many wolfman movies dummies!

  • Dustin

    Once more into the fray.
    Into the last good fight I'll ever know.
    Live or die on this day.
    Live or die on this day.

    He knew he was going to die, which is why he discarded the wallets. He had no chance against the Alpha wolf however. Weakened how he was. The Alpha being stronger and much faster then the others.

    The ending coundnt have been better.

  • A1000lies

    It's "live AND die on this day" dickface. Get it right if you are going to make a review.

    • Josh

      Hundreds of comments and you pick this one? To correct someone? Not to say anything about what you thought or how you felt about the ending, but to make a personal attack at someone who was intent on writing a quote from the film but messed up one word. GET A FUCKING LIFE YOU MISERABLE BASTARD. Get your fucking attitude right if you're going to make a review. Your statement was selfish and pitiful.

      • DelM

        Oh do shut up, you argumentative little s***

  • http://mindmadevsual.com Leivur

    so basically no matter how it would have ended it would just be a terrible movie? a damned if you do and damned if you dont kind of thing... the only thing that the movie gave me is a interest in the meaning of courage. what it comes down to is courage isnt the absence fear but acting while facing your fear. i really like that.

  • Jeremy

    I'd just like to point out that in your post, you have the poem wrong in italics. It's live AND die on this day, not live OR die on this day. This makes a big difference in the interpretation of the ending, in my opinion. Cheers.

    • Jeremy

      shit, people already put that.

  • Wolfman

    I know for a fact that Liam Neesom survived because I was in a wolf pack with my friend Doug and we took Liam to las Vegas and he lost all his money at craps and Is now living on the streets. P

  • Nate

    Not sure what all the fuss is about. At the end, I closed my eyes and imagined Neeson as leader of the wolves, frolicking around in the snow with the other wolves and wearing his prize as a coat. Damn, if only they had consulted me on the ending!

    Spoiler Alert:
    The Grey part 2. Neeson has gone mad and leads the wolves on another killing spree to remove unwanted hunters from his territory!

  • Anonymous

    The ending was very good, very brave, artistic, annoying yes, but also brave because it did what it needed to do despite annoying you. And hey, it's got people talking, and even some of you are philosophising about it - that's good. If art makes you think, move, change your mind, learn something by engaging others - that it has achieved one of it's highest purposes.

  • Nima

    It was the best ending
    nobody wants to see Neeson torn up by wolves and blood on his face and stomach.
    or, Neeson walk up to his wallet, put it back to his pocket, with a nice smile on his face.
    I dont know what some people think about movies. the should see "Fast Five" or some bullshit like that.

  • eddie

    the ending is clear, he knows he's going to die, the poem says he is going to die, he is freezing and is going to die, he lays the wallets out because he knows he is going to die and can't bring them any further.

    stop fighting it and accept it

  • Veritable Jatt

    I loved the ending because it showed that

  • ButReally

    I hate endings like this. Yes, the artsy hipsters and "film critics" will love it, because it's complex and ambiguous. Great fodder for a post-movie analysis at Starbucks over some lattes. But, I don't pay to go see a movie that I later have to think about and ponder over. I pay to have a good time and reach a decent conclusion. This movie was like having sex with a prostitute who leaves right before you climax and then says "Well, it's about the journey."

    NO! Movies are not about the journey; they are decisively about the ending. The ending must be clear. Screw this director.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Ha, I love how you feel so passionate about your opinion, sure your's is the only opinion to have. Must make conversations with you quite the delight.

    • Cyn

      Sorry, bud - but I am neither an "artsy hipster" nor a "film critic".

      What am I am not an idiot - therefore, I don't need everything spelt out for me.

      It's obvious what happened. The ending was very clear.

      Perhaps you should leave these movies to people who don't mind thinking, and don't need everything spoonfed to them. I'm sure Michael Bay has a movie coming out sometime soon.

      • Josh

        The ending was not clear at all actually. In fact, as the author here said it was to leave the audience to think. Don't need to be artsy, hipster or fucking anything to realize that. Here, they call it common sense, and it can't be taught. Making fun of Michael Bay films..... It doesn't matter what you say now, you have shown a distinct bias. Your opinion is now worth fuckall. Movie was alright. I didn't get the ending either, but I'm traditional. I wanted Neeson to kill that big bastard and GPS his ass home. I dig the hero flicks, but pissing on someone for their opinion, or being a hypocrit because of it is just immature. Think before you speak there 'bud'.

        • Cyn

          You diss me for "pissing" on someone for their opinion, and yet your post does the exact same thing, as does the one I replied too.

          Th ending was very obvious. And according to the "author", apparently you DO have to be artsy or a hipster or "fucking anything" to get it.

          And FYI - I love Michael Bay movies but as I said, I don't need every movie to spell out things for me. I can THINK.

          My opinion is worth as much as anyone else's - no matter what YOUR opinion of it may be.

          If the rest of your posts and responses are anything to go by, you need some anger management classes.

          Oh and thanks but I did think, "bud". And I suggest you start thinking a little too before posting and showing *yourself* to be the hypocrite.

  • Dave

    I think the ending was a waste to an awesome film, of course he wasnt going to survive but what would have been wrong with him giving/and us seeing the alpha wolf get a good ass kicking, as seen as Neeson was obviously portrayed as the alpha in the group of survivors. After killing the alpha wolf, the rest of the pack would have just got him anyway.... Nothing spoon fed, but surely the masses deserved a better ending!!!

  • Callum

    if you watch all the credits you see and ending clip right at the end of the film, but im not going to tell you what it is so you have to find out yourself s :P

  • ferg

    Is not the whole film allegory about limbo about the symbolic in-between that we find in life - a possibility that is endorsed by the eponymous title? Think about it - men at the end of the world "unfit for society;" a protagonist who attempts suicide; a plane going down in the middle of nowhere; a place of uncertainty; thoughts all based on doubts, regrets, and confusion; an outcome that is even left 'in-between' as we never know the actual outcome. Could we even make one daring guess that this is indeed Limbo, that Neeson is dead already but hasn't recognised it, that memories of childhood on father's lap with a poem pertaining to death with 'the last fight' are a poignant tell-tale sign, that his memory of his wife leaving him are illuminated with further inner recollection of a deathbed - one that many audiences presume is hers, but perhaps is actually his. The profundity of his death have not yet been realised and somewhere something in his soul is trying to make him realise that he is indeed dead by several attempts such as the gun in mouth, the plane that goes down, the wolf that attempts to kill him soon after, the forest escape, and the daring precipice leap - all feats that would have ended meeker men. Still, he goes on, and it takes one man by one man dying to teach him that his end must be, until the final acceptance in the ultimate ironic twist - finishing in the den he was attempting to run away from (particularly after shouting at God to "do something now"). It is here that his soul or mind finally secumbs and the memories and signs come rushing to him in a holistic revelation - he must die today - and yet - he is already so. For the film begins in a haze with the protagonist in a haze, trying to figure out the murky confusing separations, and ends in clarity for him, although confusing many audiences that are spoonfed on hollywood endings.

    • wowohwow

      kudos to your review! spot on mate!

    • HarryHoudini

      "eponymous" I had to look that one up in the dictionary nice word. At first when I was reading your review I thought you were talking about the series "LOST", but when I got deeper into your thoughts I realized that how the hell did that film crew shooting that movie survive. My shout out goes to them for making Liam John Neeson seem even more indestructible than ever before probably because he was already dead.

  • John Doe

    First off I think it was a good film, portraying the struggles of life and death, but I have some gripes with the reality of it all. It just became too unreal for me. Sure, it`s a movie, but many things strikes me as dumb, best case odd. As someone said, maybe this movie is portraying Ottmans death struggle against some fatal illness. Then it makes more sense. Going to make a lot of ppl pissed here..but heres my gripes; Wolves shy people, especially groups. Throwing the rifle because the handle was broken, it will still shoot. How about trying to find the shotgun the shells belonged to? Bound to be there in the vicinity. Jumping the the ravine, wtf good did that do?

    Number one rule; Never leave the wreckage. The plane would most likely be found. Going wandering off into the unknown in everwhich direction in freezing wilderness does not seem smart to me. With all that wreckage and suitcases etc. lying around and the intact fuselage section it seemed possible to block and insulate the entrances making it a shelter against both wolves and the elements. They could have survived for weeks there before starvation set in. In bad weather the best option is to dig in. As one said I also found it strange that did not make weapons with spikes, axes and so on. If there was no other option than to head for the woods, I think they should have left better prepared. But I guess this just ain`t that type of movie even if the adds promoted it as one.

  • Darren

    Having watched the post credit scene, the ending seems very apparent to me at least. We see a shot of the alpha wolf down, and breathing heavily (in the same manner as the Wolf that was shot early in the film, and laboring through its final breaths). We also see the main character's head resting on the Wolf's chest. Now, it is impossible to tell if the head is moving on its own, or simply swaying with the movements of the alpha wolf's body, but my impression is that the main character is either dead, or in the process of dying with the alpha wolf (perhaps laboring through his final breaths as well); having expended himself if an epic struggle that he knew was hopeless, but fought on anyway.

    I agree with one of the previous posters that the Director likely couldn't find a fitting way to have that battle play out in a manner that would have been convincing. Most likely would have come across as tacky. I think he made a strategic decision that it was better to simply allude to the outcome with that very brief final scene post credits; leaving the audience to fill in the blank for what happened to leave the alpha wolf and the main character laying there together dead/dying.

    That 4 second clip made all the difference to my perception of the ending.

  • Leo

    In movies and literature, the most important aspect is the development/evolvement/growth (which can be none, like in The big Lebowski). If you think otherwise that's okay with me, but in that case you also expect the last two minutes/pages to make your day, while the director or writer probably thought differently. Besides, it shouldn't be forgotten that movies and books often attempt to tell something or some aspects of life. A confusional or sudden ending correspond more with life than the traditional boring happy ending. So my advice is to enjoy the WHOLE story and to expect nothing from the ending. If the ending is really satisfying, good for you!
    Greetz from Holland

  • Cece

    Watched this movie last night and quite frankly it left me perturbed. Granted we aren't really given that much of a back story on Ottway but enough was known about him but nevertheless the audience is almost forced to sympathize with him and want to see him succeed. I mean to want to end your life but finding a grain of reason to fight for your life, really says something. Perhaps it was because in the beginning of the film ( pre-plane crash) he seemed invisible, but after when he realized all these men relied on him to keep them alive and make it to safety, but only after every one else is dead he accepts his impending fate. But that's just one theory.
    My second theory is the whole film he was dead. I think he actually succeeded in killing himself( i.e when he's about to shoot himself a wolf in the distance can be heard howling what are the odds at that every second he would howl and stop him from killing himself), one supporting notion o that is how is it he was strapped in with several seat belts but still managed to wake up, several feet from the wreckage with none of the seat belts in sight, but the guy who got up and went to another seat was still strapped in with one seat belt( unless i missed something). S.N what are the odds that a trained wolf expert would lead himself right into the wolves den.
    And as for the end when he calls on God, I think this was a cheap shot at God on the part of the writers and directors, Why call on God in your final hour when just before you basically said u dont even believe in God or the idea of him. Besides if he was dead there was no need for any deliverance he was already dead.
    I just think it was unfortunate to go through ALL OF THAT just to die anyways. Like what was the point of the tracker device, a waste of screen time and dialogue. I mean I could understand if the final scene happens just as it did but in the credit scene, he is blinking in and out of consciousness, the screen is black he hears what he thinks is his wife saying its okay, he blinks ( blurred sight of course) he thinks he is looking at his wife but in fact he is looking at a rescuer, who grabs his tracker thingy ( signifying that's how he was located) he blinks again and is on a chopper as he is lifted to safety. and as the screen cuts to black the last two lines of the poem are read live and die one this day, signifying that he died but has been symbolically reborn, he found a reason and way to fight for his life that he so easily was willing to throw away ( attempted suicide scene) he half smiles and the screen cuts to black. My ending :) cheesy perhaps but makes more sense to me.
    Cause I mean even with the original ending, he may have beat the alpha wolf but guess what he is still going to die he is still in the middle of no where no one knows where he is, or even where to look, he's injured no doubt suffering from hypothermia, starvation and dehydration. With all those things against him there is no way humanly possible without some divine intervention that he would have walked another step yet alone another mile.
    In my humble opinion

  • John

    I liked the movie, though I really wanted to see the fight. You know he isn't going to be able to defeat all the wolves and avoid hypothermia but I wanted to see him at least take out the alpha. The scene after the credits shows him laying on the alpha which is still breathing. If you remember when he shot the wolf towards the beginning of the film he felt its body heaving as it took its last breath. It was obvious he mortally wounded the alpha. If the alpha wasn't wounded it wouldn't let him lay his head on it, and if it was able to it would be snapping at him. So its almost certain he mortally wounded it and he is feeling it take its last breath. What you don't know is how hurt he is or if he has died on the wolf because he doesn't move. I assume he to was injured pretty bad but after the fight laid on the wolf and soon dies. Just my take on the ending.

  • Erik

    I really anticipated the big final fight of Ottway and the Alpha wolf. In the trailers they show clips of them charging each other. In the red band trailer, it shows Ottwar with blood on his face and on the knife, bottles, and knuckles. Also in the red band trailer, it shows Ottway swinging his knife downward onto the wolf. So they did film the final fight, and I am dissapointed they did not show. It would have been exciting, and I think for some people, the climax build with the final fight of with the Alpha. But I guess the ending the way it was was satisfying enough.

  • Clint

    As he was saying that poem and getting ready to fight the wolfs, all I was thinking was "Don't end the movie right here, don't end the movie right here, don't end the movie right here" and of course it ended. After the very end of the credits there's a couple more quick seconds, but come on you gotta know most people are gonna be gone by then! I will forever be left to wonder what the fight was like (and that would be a BAD thing for my case). JUDGING BY THAT VERY QUICK FLASH AFTER THE CREDITS, IT LOOKED LIKE A FIGHT WORTHY OF BEING IN A MOVIE! WOW! I thought that was gonna be the climax! I was expecting alpha vs. alpha showdown and got it, but the details were left to me? What if I am stupid? PLEASE DON'T PLAY THESE KINDA GAMES WITH MOVIES! Especially after seeing the trailers...epic fail. Good movie but blank ending. Boring ending. Looked like a hell of a fight.

  • wowohwow

    just watched this movie, and i absolutely loved it, ending and all. i knew going in that it was not a typical "man kill beast to survive" movie but something deeper. after first viewing, i thought the movie was about a man who basically gave up on life and by going thru this big accident that he found the will to live again. and even at that, it was a great film..thank you to all the comments above, i've learned even more...and a special thank you to 2 talkbacks above, i now see the movie in an entirely different light-
    liam's character was dead or was in the process of dying and entire movie is an allegory (sp) to that..a march toward ultimate death and how one deals with it..go back above and read the 2 reviewer (forgot their names)..they were both spot on..they made the most sense, even the part about how grainy the movie looked at the beginning(i thought it was because they chose to film like to due to their choice of movie cameras)..and how sharp and full of colors at the end..how one john chose to quit the fight (and die peacefully) and how the other john continues to fight. how the person dying was not the wife/girlfriend but himself, many point that i didn't catch..
    man, this is a fantastic movie....up there with oldboy and the like..

  • wowohwow

    it was freg and sj's review that made me see the movie in an entirely different light..much mahalos to both..

    to the rest that nitpicks on this movie like "bad looking wolf", not realistic enough, where was ottway's airplane seat, how did he end up in a wolf's den if he's an expert, why didn't he dive underwater to see what's keeping hendrick stuck, why didn't they make crutches for diaz, how come they didn't do this or that,etc,etc.. you are most certainly entitled to your opinion, but if you read those 2 reviews and then rewatch the movie in those context, you will see it makes total sense..

    the director is not out to make a "realistic" survival movie, if you thought that what you were gonna seeing, then you will not like this movie and find a lot of holes everywhere and unfulfilled.

  • Zach

    I liked the ending. So what if the viewer didn't get a definite answer to what happens? That's life, sometimes there are mysteries. Sometimes life doesn't work out the way you want it too.

  • Discodoran

    If you watched the film after the end credits you will see the wolf laying there just about breathing and Neisons head laying on it. I recon he's dead but took the wolf along with him. I would have preferred an epic battle to be honest.

  • joe

    I hated the ending I am the typical movie watcher that expects to see a great fight and action..I paid 22 dollars for me and my girlfriend to go watch it but came out disappointed..there is a lot of people that say "well you have to create the ending" or "its for you to decide how it ended" if I wanted to imagine things I wouldnt even watch it and just imagine the whole movie...big fail..btw people in the movie theater were booing the ending

  • malyyy

    I think that the climaxx where most of themm died was sad. Too me the ending was o.k. After the credits it shows a wolf and liam lying there. I wish they showed the alpha male and liam fight it out. Also how did the wolvesw get up and down the cliff. At first i thought there was one alpha male and two packs of omegas. I don't know. All I have to say is that I wish liam and the alpha male fought and they need to remake the movie or, in the dvd make extended scenes to show the fight and tell us if the man survived. Ovverall I would rate it a 8 and a half.

  • Quasar

    What I gathered from the ending, taking into consideration the entire film's theme/ motifs/ allusions etc. Was that this was Ottway's final stand; the entire film he questions his purpose and worth, as he is shaken and disheartened by his wife's death, as we can deduce from his constant, fragmented flashbacks and the suicide contemplation scene in the beginning. He questions/ admonishes God and finds the situation to be hopeless, and it is. "Live and die this day" sums up his mindset, and the delineates the fact that he does indeed die. However he does take the wolf with him. The final heavy breaths of the Alpha Male in the ending credits scene ties back to the wolf kill that Ottway makes in beginning of the movie;just before the wolf dies he puts his hand on the wolf's chest and feels its final breaths. That's just Joe Carnahan's subtle way of giving us a little treat, and a profound one at that; it gives us a sense of closure and victory even knowing that Neeson fought the "last good fight he'll ever know." Also if I remember correctly in the scene of the group's first night in the woods when they hear the Alpha wolf "put down" a challenging wolf in the pack, someone says something along the lines of 'if we kill the alpha the rest will piss off': (poor quoting but I do remember that). My point being that we get one last hoorah knowing that Ottway doesn't only kill the alpha male but also disrupts/destroys the order of the entire wolf pack. Loved every minute of this movie!

  • Amber

    I hate the ending because I felt like the entire theme of the movie was about survivors, so then why make a movie where you kill each 'survivor' one by one including the main character? If the movie wasn't about survivors then what in the world was the movie's point? -rhetorical question. Why not have him slowly on the brink of death find a small town (since there were once loggers there then maybe there was a town somewhere)that he stumbles into and some nice woman comes a helps him and nurses him back to health. Then he tells her everything that happened and they get it out to all the men's families and loved ones that their men have passed away. And he is able to start a new life with a new beginning filled with the encouragement of knowing what he overcame. Yes, I know that is a very girly ending...but I am a girl whom loves my girly endings and I deeply appreciate leaving a movie feeling happy/encouraged...not confused and upset.

  • nimrod

    $10? it's more like $13!

  • Trey

    Wat I was thinking is him the alpha of survivors kills te wolf alpha and all the other wolves realizing their alpha is dead back off respecting their new alpha and let him live and the movie end with him standing up after the fight and the other wolves just walk away

  • 3bears

    No one has commented on the plea he made to God, towards the very end, to help guide him, give him a sign or something. He waited and thought he got nothing so he said "I'll just do it myself." In fact, God did the only thing he could do to save him - he led him into the den which was the best place to kill the alpha as it would annoint him the new alpha thereby keeping the other wolves away from him. Remember the scene mid-way through the film when they were around the fire pit and a horribly earie sound came from the woods? John spent some time explaining that was another wolf (I think he said Omega) trying to take control by killing the alpha. Why would they bother explaining this tidbit if it didn't have some significance at the end. The poem (which was really symbolic of his father and their bond) gave him the courage to fight the wolf. He definitely lived at the end (as others have said , the slowly breathing wolf harkens back to the dying wolf at the beginning), his head is on top of the wolf signifying dominance, and the time spent on the tracking device. The clues were all there!!!! Finding God will finally give him the solace he is seeking around the death of his wife.

    • Lucas Corso

      I think you found the ending you wanted, 3bears. Which is fine. I see it differently. Even with the brief scene at after the credits -- Ottway isn't coming out of it alive. He's just finishing his life with "the last good fight he'll ever know." God didn't give Ottway a miracle out. One way of looking at it, though: Ottway did find "god" in nature and in the dignity of his death.

    • The Grey Sucks

      Even if he killed the Alpha, the other wolves would kill him. God didn't do shit because there is no God. They didn't put an ending to this film because they thought they invented the no ending use your own imagination crap which has actually been over used time and time again. It's a cheap shot and waste of time film.

    • Steve

      Wow 3 bears this is great I totally agree with this it makes seen now thx

    • Steve


  • Trey

    I like that 3bears I never thought about that but I honestly think that he was laying on it dying but u could be correct I don't no I just hope that te DVD has a alternate ending that's clear with the ending and I'll just stick with that

  • HarryHoudini


    • The Grey Sucks

      There's no sequel. It's just a piece of crap, cheap shot, get you in the theater and take your money and leave you pissed films.

  • Daniel

    Q: Is Liam's character experiencing euphenasia in his real life, and the cold-Alaska part of the movie is a manifestation of what his mind is experiencing as he dies. He might have been about to die (so he manifest suicide) but he holds on a little longer. He gets a little closer to death, the plane crashes (the plane beeps like an EKG). As his death roll continues, his mind manifest a group. He tells the first dying man that death warmly covers you (or something like that), but he's wrong, death comes at you like a pack of hungry wolves. He fights to keep different parts of himself (the group) alive, but he loses them little by little, and his fight with the Alpha is his last breath–it's and over before you know it. The scene before the end shows him with a syringe by his bed. I did not stay for the last scene (after the credits) so I could be totally off my rocker. If you know this, or know I am way off, please let me know. Thanks.

    • Ed Pelto

      Incredible thought and imagery Daniel. I could have liked this film if I were to have seen it from this perspective. I might have to re-watch it with this in mind.

      The final scene shows a VERY close up the the pron alpha taking deep breaths in and out. With the top of Liam's head, and hair the only part you see, he is laying against the flank of the beast. You can not tell if Liam is alive or dead, injured or not injured. The focus is on the heaving side of the wolf.

      This is a minimalized recapitulation of the scene where Liam waits to experience the death of the wolf he shoot early on in the film, where we see the side of the wolf heaving until it expires while Liam stand over it. In this scene we see much less. The ending is left up to the viewer... It does seem that to whatever extent, both hunters are down.

      This scene is in NO WAY conflicting with the metaphorical painting of the personalized fight death that you have suggested. It actually fits quite nicely.

      Thank you for your perspective.

    • Mike

      Daniel, way cool perspective.....would have loved this metaphor to be the intention...for me it just left me hanging in thought....and the things is I am always in some kind of contemplation about life so I watch movies to be inspired with a different perspective than my own...this time I was handed the inspirational piece right back LOL

  • Lucas Corso

    It was the right ending. I liked it. No need to show Ottway's final battle. The point was made. The ending, in a lot of ways, was the best thing about the movie.

  • Coleyboy

    The worst ending to a film, EVER!!!! They take you down their road.... grip you..... lead you to the inevitable ALPHA v ALPHA showdown, then - BAM! - they run out of film! They should be ashamed of themeselves for spoiling an otherwise excellent movie - I CALL ON EVERYONE TO SPOIL THIS AS MUCH AS THEY CAN

  • Ryan

    Not one of the characters in this movie would pass as a decent human being, as much as was admitted so in Liam Neeson's characters' opening dialogue, which by the way I was already ready for everyone in the movie to be eaten by wolves before the opening dialogue was even finished. The icing on the annoying cake was the cliched bar scene at the beginning of the movie. I know everything I walk into cliche bars fights instantly break out, with depressed Liam Neeson characters drinking depressively alone at the bar. Too bad he didn't kill himself at the beginning of the movie, it may have saved on the disappoint I felt from the rest of the film. The female flight attendant was the only one I felt bad for...getting eaten by the wolf and all after the crash, while still alive. She may have been the only decent person in the film. Otherwise, I don't think you'll ever see a more deserving cast of characters eaten by a pack of wolves. Plus no Liam Neeson V. wolf fight, and congrats on trekking right into the wolf's den (idiots)...glad I only rented this movie and didn't spend the money to see it in theaters. The gore is this movie's only saving grace.

  • Archie

    Just saw the movie and loved it. The ending took me by surprise but after the initial shock, thought that it was well done and a good fit for the story.
    One thing I do want to say though, I don't know who this Josh character is who keeps posting on this site but give it a rest man. Who the hell are you? The opinion police? Why is it that you have to judge everything that people want to say? And not only judge it but verbally tear them apart while doing so. I hope that who ever is in charge of enforcing the "please note" section at the end of this comment thread removes everything that you have written because it's honestly just the rantings of a bitter, self righteous wanna be film critic.

  • The Grey Sucks

    This was a stupid film. Waste of time. The ending was the worst part. It was misleading as I thought it was the climax and was robbed of an ending. I don't want to use my own imagination, that's what the movie's for. I didn't write this piece of crap so don't expect me to fill in where your lame writers can't do their job. Maybe he kills the Alpha wolf, but it was still breathing at the end. When you don't put an ending to your film it's a cheap shot. It's over used and I'll never watch another of this director's films. I like Neeson though, but not his best performances.

    • You suck

      The cutaway ending is over used? you mean like a movie that has a final showdown fight? That overused? too bad you don't use your imagination you might have imagined something to say that didn't make you sound like and uneducated simpleton.

  • Dan R

    A great movie can make you think AND actually show you then ending at the same time. Making you guess how the movie ends always makes me feel ripped off. Imagine if the Godfather ended with Michael saying "tomorrow we settle all family business" then you see a fade to black. Would you still say "oh they made you think?"
    The climax of the movie is the exclamation point that makes the movie great. Not having one is for artsy-fartsy types who want to study the movie insetad of being entertained.

  • Carrie

    We all need to get a life!

  • Steve

    I say Liam survived I mean how could he go thru all that and kill the alpha and just die. before he wanted to die but now all the way thru the journey and surviving he learned how much he Charished life and wanted to live so he fought for it and killed the alpha and he survived

    • Mike

      what makes you make the conclusion he learned how much he cherished life? All I saw was sadness, pain, suffering and grief.....he seemed like he wanted to die but 2 things kept him from making that choice, one the wolves when he was ready to shoot his own head of and two....something about helping the survivors...but they all just died one by one so it in many ways was a pretty depressing movie. thanks for sharing!!

  • Christian

    Neeson was subconsciously committing “suicide by cop” or more accurately - by wolf. The problem is that he took everyone with him on this path of destruction. Why leave the crash site (the black box)? Why would a so-called wolf expert end up in the one area he was trying to avoid - the wolf den. The only way it makes sense is for Neeson to subconsciously put himself (and others) in danger so he can die and join his wife (wife tells him in his dream to not be afraid - of death). Yet, his internal drive is too strong to let himself commit suicide, so he fights on and never gives up. The conflict - to live or die on this day.

  • Josh

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    Look, I get it. The indie folks love mystery and artistic expression. If you want that, go to the indie festivals, buy some granola, and have a good sit down. However, when I want to see main stream commercial films with blockbuster actors and previews full of excitement, I want the movie to match up.

    Do I want to see Liam Neeson skewer the alpha and then succumb to the pack? Or see him eviscerate the alpha, then watch the pack back off because he just bitch-slapped the leader? YES!

    Blockbuster film viewers are "slaves" to the corporate sell-out film. We're not interested in anyone's "interpretation" of the events. We're not going to the box office to see a Picasso. Steven Spielberg isn't famous for his "art", but for his ability to wow us. Yes, as a film buff myself, Spielberg is an incredible artist, but he gives the audience what they want and doesn't disappoint... most of the time.

    Straight up: if you want your movie to make it big, make the audience happy. The artists can go watch Focus Features movies.

    • Josh is an Idiot

      Focus Features Movies huh? Just what type of movies do you suppose Open Road Films makes? hmmmmm looks like someone doesn't pay attention before he pops off... So....

      Wrong. Wrong. Wrong... so sad you don't understand that everything is just an "interpretation"... your own. and you didn't pay attention enough when you watched this film or you would know what it was actually about. All you are is a spoiled cry baby "I wanted to see a fight scene and i didn't get it boo hoo... i want my stories spoon fed to me in linear fashion." And by what stretch of your imagination is January the "blockbuster" season. It was a January release after all... Guess you got fooled into thinking you knew where the story was going and how it was going to turn out. You do know the film and the trailer are cut by different people right? You're a narrow minded half thinking laughable person my name sums up my thoughts about you...

  • Ed Pelto

    The acting is good... The cinematography is excellent.


    This movie is actually an expensive horror film where the antagonists are maladjusted wolves; behaving not like wolves truly would, but like "Jason" from Friday the 13th.

    Meanwhile the expert,(Liam Neeson) does EVERYTHING wrong. He is a testosterone leading sharp shooter whose strength of will guides everyone into survival hell. And like many-other horror films-----> Every move made, individually and as a party, plays to the wolves' strengths while weakening the survivors. Oh, WHAT SURVIVORS? The party is picked off one by one.

    How about the tragic characterization and depth? It is hard to miss characters who are not developed very well and are found running in the woods with metaphorical high-heels on, they should have survived much longer than they did.

    I would say more, but I gtg ------> out 'by-myself'.... in the middle nowhere..... to pee... so I probably won't be back.

  • Andrew

    This is so weird. I was just gonna type into google the words movie ending analysis but with the thought of how bad the movie the grey ended and as I typed in those words 'the grey ending movie analysis was the most popular search on google. that is weird but so true. good to know im not alone in wondering why perfectly good films sometimes end this way. I was worried I was missing the point. but im not. its just dumb!! I really enjoyed the film up until this point and as an Irishman I had a little bit of home pride going on to see Neeson doing so well for himself. but that ending ruined the film completely.

  • Chris

    READ SJ's POST ABOVE!!!! This movie is a metaphor. It is as much a poem as it is a movie. Or maybe a poem in movie form... hence the poem being mentioned over and over through the film to clue us in. The poem is a clue about the movie itself not just about inspiration for fighting the good fight within the story of the movie. This movie requires careful viewing. It references his dream state through out. The scenes with his wife seem dreamlike because of his drugged/sickened state in real life, The tundra scenes seem so clear because they are happening in his mind. He is in a fever/death dream and the things happening to him are all represented as metaphors. i.e. his sickness as wolves from which he cant escape. The crash as his body crashing and being brought back by a "crash cart". The white surroundings of the tundra are the white walls of the hospital. The watch is his heart monitor. The other survivors are different parts of his psyche he has to deal within his dream. We are/play every character in our dreams.

    How else can the supernatural nature of the wolves be explained other than as a dream? They keep showing up no matter how far the travelers go... How did the wolves get down the cliff? Or rather up the cliff in the first place? They simply show up over and over. The last flash to his wife and him shows the I.V. clearly on his side of the bed.

    He refers to the other workers as ex cons... prisoners... He (and consequently they) are all trapped in the same prison as all of us. within our own minds and bodies and his body (and hence mind) is dying he is facing his own death this dream is his minds way of dealing with its own mortality as it dies from some disease.

    This movie asks the questions we all face. is there escape from death? Should we go quietly into that good night? Where is the meaning of life found? And is there a God? It seems in the end he overcomes his fear of death and he and the disease (whatever it is but i like to think cancer...) both die at the same moment (the disease cant live without its host...) and he finds peace. But not without the one last fight for life... to live and die on the same day.

    • Chris

      ALSO READ DANIEL's ABOVE POST!!!! missed it at first but he is on the money also... good interp man. I agree a case could be made that he is experiencing assisted suicide.

  • Josh

    It's not that I didn't get the metaphor. Film is, almost always, a metaphor. But this film ended badly. Its depressing. I want to see Liam fight the alpha, stab it to death, and get the evisceral gratification of watching him get the win, even if he dies in the end.

    The truth is, the ending sucked because it didn't have a climax worthy of the build up. It let us down. We watch these characters battle this antagonist to the end, but never physically see resolution. Save for a heavily breathing wolf AFTERthe credits. Therein lies the let down.

  • Josh

    Some of you need to lay off of the caffeine. Maybe get a prescription for Xanex. Call me stupid, but how well did this movie do? Not very.

    Sure, make a movie about metaphors and dreams. Yes, the largest part of the movie-going population does want their story lines fed to them in linear fashion. We don't all have time to wear lots of black and tell everyone how depressing life is and discuss Nietzsche at the local coffee shop.

    I'm a screen writer. I have been in meetings with Warner Brothers and discussed plots with directors and producers. The sad fact, for some of you, is that movies are products. They're not generally meant to be artistic voyages into the meaning of life, so much as an entertainment product for the masses.

    The film was good. The points were clear. Yes, I want to see Liam Neeson fight the alpha wolf because that was a critical point of the film and the build up to that point resulting in a cut off before the climax sucked. Pure and simple.

  • Rick

    I didn't mind the end but I found myself wondering throughout the movie how Liam must have felt to take on this role. Did he do it because it closely portrayed his helplessness and despair after the loss of his wife in real life? I haven't lost a spouse but I can imagine that everyday afterward could be termed into the fray.

  • Boss

    Both died and Liam realized the meaning of life on the day of his death...The meaning of like is to fight till the end...that's it guys ;)

  • Jason

    I would have liked to see Liam Neeson charge the wolf and then have it end, that would have been perfect, really the only thing I had any issue with.

  • Josh

    ok.. for everyone saying that is unrealistic for wolves to attack humans.. its totaally possible.. they werent eating it they were killing the human because the humans were on their territory.. and for the ending both of them dieing.. the first scene of Liam killing the wolf shows that wolves pants heaviliy when they die. and liam is dead because i dont see any fog breaths out of his mouth... i didnt like the ending at all at first but i realize its better i ont see the same old fight with a wolf..

  • kelli

    I am left confused about the ending. He was in the wolves den? How did he manage to get there, of all places? Did he mean to get there? Was it two wolve packs? Maybe I was just tired last night but I was confused when they jumped from the cliff and were met by wolves...was it a new pack?

  • Jonathan

    Actually, this movie was pretty fantastic, and a key scene where Liam was asleep after the plane crashed, you actually see the alpha going for him, and I believe that was the scene in the trailer that caused all of the commotion among viewers. This ending was awesome. I understand people paid money to see them fight, but if they focused on that besides the harrowing story of man against wolves and man against nature, then they totally missed out, because this movie was devastatingly beautiful. A masterpiece. We actually saw them fighting all the way through. They just had their final showdown in the end. Sad how people can miss the true beauty of a film like this when watching their stories unfold in such a beautiful way, and a fight not being shown can ruin the whole movie for them. This is by far one of the best films i've ever seen, not because of what it is, but because even after the movie has been out almost a year, we are still talking about it. Films rarely ever leave this to chance. This movie is a gem in that it still to this day, is keeping us guessing.

  • Mike Carey

    personally I can see your point but I definitely agree with the countless others that we should have seen some kinda bad ass fight between Neeson and the wolf.

    I was expecting to see Liam 'live', give it his all, and because he fought with everything he had, actually survive...and then maybe the next scene could be him collapsing into some place of civilization with his last bit of energy.
    To me that would make sense of the whole 'live OR die on this day'
    because he 'lived' he gave it everything he had in order to not die on that day, it's one or the other. He lives, he fights OR he gives up and dies.

    ...but they seemed to use 2 different versions of the poem one said 'or' the other said 'and'. Personally I find much more meaning in 'or' but 'and' makes more sense of the actual ending. But at the end of the day we all just wanted to see him kick a wolves ass!
    Mike x

  • Mike

    I can live with the ending, but I felt it quite incomplete. No matter if they fight, or something else happens. Main reason for my dissatisfaction is its a survival movie.
    and every single person we watch die. So, without the ending/resolution the message spoke something like there is no hope, death is okay, try your best and suffer, even a hero cant make it and finally God is not listening or willing to help. I dont need to watch a movie for that kind of message I just look into the hearts of everyday peoples lives.....

  • Darrin Lowe

    Wtf. There isn't much ambiguity in "Live or die on this day"? Seriously...? That's like the most ambiguous statement you can make lol. The ending sucked ass and the title made no sense. The only reason I made it through the movie is because I consistently expect Liam Neeson to do something epic. Now I have to go watch another one of his movies just to get rid of the disappointment.

  • Noel

    Hated it. I agree that not showing the fight between man and wolf makes sense. Like the author said, it will not improve the film but can only make it worse. But this is the last 2 minutes of the film. What about the last 30 minutes? They lost, period. All of them gone, wallets, pointless. For me, this movie is not worth watching again because it aims to depress. In my opinion, the story would have been much better and much accepted if at least some of them survived. I want to see human beings winning. A survival story with them all losing LOL. 2 hours wasted.

  • Steve

    I honestly think the end credits scene actually TELLS you what happened. They're both lying there, clearly exhausted and obviously dying from severe hypothermia and mortal wounds. They die together, they kill each other, and that's awesome.

  • Seth

    I. I really loved the ending. It wasn't bad. It was excellent. And I love how sad it is. Where he gives the "once more into the fray" speech with the sad music. Loved it