Joe Carnahan Talks About the Alternate Ending He Shot For “The Grey”

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*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD* Do not read if you do not want to know the ending to “The Grey.”

Although the buzz had been building on Joe Carnahan’s “The Grey” since audiences first saw Liam Neeson affixing broken mini-bottles to his fists at the end of the thriller’s first teaser trailer, and subsequently corroborated by widespread approval at the film’s first screening at Harry Knowles’ Butt-Numb-a-Thon in Austin, there was skepticism that the film would be a hit, especially amongst critics who had seen it in advance.

This wasn’t for lack of quality, as the high scores on aggregators such as Rotten Tomatoes attest, but “The Grey,” in the words of its director, “wasn’t a pedal to the metal affair” and had the potential to disappoint audiences expecting a high-octane Liam Neeson wolfpunching extravaganza, particularly given the trailer’s money shot.

Anyone who’s now seen “The Grey” knows that scene from the very end of the trailer comes at the very end of the film with no wolf fight actually shown, though Carnahan recently said during a Q & A at an early screening of the film at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica that while he never planned to use it, he did film a scene where Neeson takes on the wolf.

“Listen, I’ll put it in the deleted scenes,” Carnahan told the audience, who was applauded for keeping the ending as currently consituted. “We did a version where he fights the alpha [wolf] and I just thought, the worst thing you could do is get a movie that you feel like ‘God, this movie really works and at the very end you blow it because you wanted to show a guy fighting a wolf.’”

Co-star Frank Grillo teased him by saying, “When you say it, it sounds so dumb,” to which Carnahan replied, “I know, it’s like [in a gruff tone] ‘I’m going to get you, wolf.’ ‘No, I’m going to get you, guy, let’s go.’ Even when I say it, I sound like an asshole.”

Carnahan’s bigger concern was whether audiences stayed until after the credits to see a scene that hints at how that battle played out, asking the crowd what they thought they saw and confirming their suspicions as well adding that the piece of paper in Neeson’s hand wasn’t a letter to his wife, but more likely a suicide note. During the Q & A, Carnahan also explained that the poem Neeson’s Ottway recites was not in the original Ian Mackenzie Jeffers short story the film is based on, but that he created a backstory for Ottway’s father who he believed “loved the Bard, so he would’ve loved ‘Henry V’ [and the quote] ‘Once again unto the breach,’ so he got drunk one night and he wanted to take a shot at that and liked it so much he typed it up.” Of course, the last stanza of the poem became the tagline for the film’s poster and like the trailer, had to be modified to better sell the film.

“I quite like the way [the film] wraps up with that,” said Carnahan. “You’ll notice they changed [it on the poster to] “Live or die on this day” instead of “And”… Live and Die on this day” because the marketing people said, “We can’t tell them he’s going to die. Not yet.”

Still, the confidence in the downbeat ending grew after the film had a test screening in Woodland Hills in November. We’ll let Carnahan tell the story:

“We had a series of conversations [about it]. I had a really smart group of guys in the cutting room with me and we all recognized the wallets [which Ottway collects from each of the men after they pass] was the emotional climax of the film. Anything that went past that would almost feel superfluous and unnecessary.

So we had a test screening and they polled this focus group afterwards and this group of guys was like, ‘The whole movie is building up to this fight and I want to see this fight with these guys. How come you didn’t show the fight? We all wanted to see the fight!’ They were all really pissed off. ‘I hate the movie because you didn’t show us the fight.’ So the moderator says, “Okay, that’s fair. Well, let’s see a show of hands. If you saw this movie on a Friday, would you talk about it on Saturday?” All their hands go up. “Okay, well, let’s go a little further. If you saw the movie on a Friday, on Monday morning would you talk about it?” All their hands go up. I thought well, there it is right there. Whatever your extraction, whatever you take from it, hopefully you guys like that ending because beyond that little bump at the very end, I feel like the story concluded there.”

Since it is Monday morning and we are still talking about it, we can’t argue with that.

Would you have preferred to have actually seen Liam Neeson beat up some wolves or do you like the ending as is? Let us know in the comments below.

66 Responses

  1. Derrick Davis

    I understand the reasons the director made now for choosing to omit the final fight, and I loved the entire movie leading up to the ending. But really, to end it the way it did really DID make me angry. In a way it is a bit more annoying now knowing the fight actually WAS shot. I hope he sticks to his word and really does include it in the deleted scenes on the Blu Ray. But if he really respects those people like me who want a more “complete” film, I hope he has an alternate viewing mode where we can watch this ending in the actual film. Otherwise to me it will always be really tainted by it. And no, I didn’t expect this to be an action film even in the trailers. But I did expect to have a more fulfilling climax. Otherwise it really feels like a cop-out. I hope he considers an alternate cut so people can choose whichever version is best for them.

  2. S L Dunningtong

    Another alternate ending would have been to show the fight from a very high distance and then panning away, then fade to black….next scene, a sober but renewed Ottway greeting the son of Pete (drowned in river at end) and consoling him as he personally delivers the wallets to all of the families. Somebody asks, “what will you do now?” Ottway answers, “I dunno, maybe find somewhere where there’s a little more sun, and a few less wolves”. Smiles, walks away, roll credits.

  3. S L Dunningtong

    Remember too, that though there were several other wolves it is likely that if he managed to kill the alpha they may take it as a sign not to mess with him.

  4. Stephen S.

    I applaud Carnahan for sticking to his guns and not showing the fight. And I think the movie’s ending, as is right now, is just about perfect. Loved it! And just because we don’t see the fight, doesn’t mean there is no closure to the movie. I think the poem gives it away and makes it obvious that Ottway doesn’t survive the fight. In fact, I actually think they shouldn’t even have included the post credits sequence.

  5. cassano

    The ending was absolutely terrible, to be honest the whole movie was awful! The scenes dragged on so long, it took forever for ppl to die. Like come on, it was soooooooo bad!

  6. yo!sarrian

    I love reading comments online from people criticizing film makers for how they handled making their film. Or how shit “should have” ended. “I would’ve done this, made this guy do that” blahblah shut up. Seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the overly ambiguous hipster ending as much as the next guy (Martha Marcy May Marlene), but to actually believe it would have been a better movie if it ended with Ottway giving back the wallets to the families and then

    “Somebody asks, “what will you do now?” Ottway answers, “I dunno, maybe find somewhere where there’s a little more sun, and a few less wolves”. Smiles, walks away, roll credits.”

    well, you’re a pompous twit. I chortled out loud when I read that. Now I do think that would be a good movie in itself. About a guy who survives something horrible, returns back to society as the sole survivor, and tracks down each family of the guys who died to say sorry or return wallets…sort of like About Schmidt but way different.

    I read some other guy’s comment on imdb. He was all pissed at the ending too and wrote about how he couldn’t believe Ottway and Pete left Diaz to die, writing something like: “they should’ve thrown together a makeshift stretcher and carried him out, and then Liam should’ve fought the wolves to the death so that the other two might live.” The gall on this guy? That dude should cancel his internet and just…stop. Diaz stopping to die there, sure at first I was like, “Nooo! what are you doing man? keep going, dont puss out now” and then was like, “come on Liam, drag this fucker through the snow if you have to!” But then, after Diaz tells Pete that he’s not trying to return to his bullshit existence manning a jack hammer, I totally feel him. His motives for wanting to die there, against a log looking up at the peak he descended after fighting wolves and cold and spend his fleeting moments in that that -what’s the word- feeling. Like when you don’t want your trip to end. Nothing in Diaz’s life would match that adrenalin he felt in that day or so of actually “living”. It’s like he says: “nothing can top this.” I thought it made perfect sense, and I really loved that part. I can imagine them writing that and being like, Aww HELL YES!” and then high fiving.

    Or that scene after Pete died. He starts shouting at the sky. Cursing god daring him to appear, to give him a sign. Some other commenter on imdb suggested that when he cursed the heavens, a helicopter should’ve flown by. A couple sentences before he also called the movie unbelievably predictable. That guy is a cunt.

    “Live and die on this day.” Of course he has to die, of course the other men have to die. The wolves in this movie reminded me of the faceless gang members in Assault on Precint 13 (original Carpenter one). At least in the first half of it. I love how the gang was portrayed. More of a unit rather than made up of individuals. seen from a distance, moving as waves or shadows we dont really see their faces or hear their voices. Very hard to attribute them human qualities. The monster. Like the wolves here. That was creepy cause it made the impending doom seem like it could’ve been anything: a figment of imagination, a deep nagging marital problem, an abusive step-father….whatever. By portraying the crowd like that, a shadowy cell made up of hundreds of tiny micro-organisms, it was creepier cause there’s less to reason with. the wolves looked good, is what I’m saying. The cg wasn’t distracting, and the animatronics were cool. Death felt real in this movie, like it actually had weight. No cartoony deaths here. Like that first dying dude scene, where Liam was guiding him to death. It was a bit uncomfortable, like being locked in a room with a dying man. It forces you to watch these guys die. And it’s good to feel uncomfortable at that.

    Only thing I didn’t like was some nitpicky stuff about the makeup. If they were exposed like that, and sleeping in those conditions and dealing with that wind, their faces would probably be much more chapped and frostbit. Like those old pictures of Shackleton’s and Scott’s men staring bitterly into the camera, faces charred black and red raw. In this their faces seemed too clean. whatever though, no biggie. Also, if I had been one of those men, I feel like I would have been more concerned about making some sort of weapon to defend my self with. They sort of do with those bang sticks, but only use it that one time. I don’t know…even for the placebo of having a pointy stick on me at all times. But I’m not upset by this. It’s not like it was a whole season of a tv show. I didn’t consider this an action film. Also, tell me if I’m the only one who thought this, but every time Liam thought about his wife whom he had lost, I couldn’t separate actor from character, which is good. it made it more genuine. Like, oh, he lost his wife in reality, his character has also just lost a wife…maybe he was able to tap into those emotions? whatever. that’s just me wishing I didn’t know private details about celebrities.

  7. mikel

    The action fan in me would have liked to see the final battle, but the man in me who can relate to the relentless struggle that the movie reflects in all of us was more than happy with the ending just the way it was.

  8. Cargrill

    Carnahan should have stood by his own movie then – he shouldn’t have agreed to sell the movie based on a scene that doesn’t happen – he should have tried to sell it for what it is.

    Also, don’t come up with a gimmick like the glass-knuckles if you’re not going to use it. If the scene is only supporting the characters INTERNAL desire to survive – if that’s your movie – don’t make it about EXTERNAL gimmicks.

    I don’t think Carnahan delivered a thoughtful character study dealing with survival OR a satisfying action movie in the end. It seemed more like he didn’t know how to do either film and copped out.

    The point about discussing it doesn’t make sense either – If I got robbed on Friday, I’d still talk about it Monday.

  9. Cargrill

    Sheesh – did anyone really understand human desire to survive through this movie? Did you really get insight into the human condition from this thing? I guess it’s cool if you did – but if you found this deep on any level you should really try reading more or seeing some better films.

    To me, this was a pure genre film – with sludgy pacing – and a build up to a climax that never happens.

    It’s like Predator ending with the line “You are one ugly motherfucker”.

  10. yo!sarrian

    “he shouldn’t have agreed to sell the movie based on a scene that doesn’t happen – he should have tried to sell it for what it is”

    And what exactly “is it”? I sort of agree with you, yeah be decisive and stick to your guns re your art, but we’re Americans. We’re incredibly indecisive and we love talking about the what ifs. We’re not Russians, bro. All it proves to me is that Carnahan is probably not a pretensious douche and is psyched about his craft/art and wants to shed light on the different challenges he faced when making it. It’s like becoming a parent. No body knows what the fuck they’re doing the first time round. It’s scary and exciting and you want to try to articulate it, but it’s dang hard to.

    I very much disagree with you that he was trying to “sell the movie” based on him fighting a wolf. That would’ve been really stupid to end showing that battle. It would’ve devalued everything we’d seen up till then. It was good not showing it. Like breaks of silence in music or soundtracks. Sometimes what you don’t see/hear is stronger in your own mind. Why do we need everything crammed down our throats in this country? Why can’t we think for ourselves and be left to our own devices re interpretation?

    “Also, don’t come up with a gimmick like the glass-knuckles if you’re not going to use it.”

    Hey Zeus Christ, man! Come on, what’d ya expect?! Do you really want to see him pull a combo on a fucking alpha tekken style?! Are you really that de-sensitized?!

    ” If the scene is only supporting the characters INTERNAL desire to survive – if that’s your movie – don’t make it about EXTERNAL gimmicks.”

    This is just silly fancy talk. “If that’s your movie.” Not sure what you mean there. Are you basing this off of the preview, cause that’s what it depicted: him fighting a wolf with broken glass knuckles? That’s the preview, the trailer, the marketing chavs are responsible for that, not Carnahan. External gimmicks? Those are the things he had on hand to use as weapons and so he used them. What’s the problem again?

    “I don’t think Carnahan delivered a thoughtful character study dealing with survival OR a satisfying action movie in the end. It seemed more like he didn’t know how to do either film and copped out.”

    Ok, that’s your right, obviously. But I don’t think that this was supposed to be about survival, per se. It was about coming to terms with mortality. Accepting fate. Like the poem says, “Live AND die on this day.” The wolves were just a metaphor for anything. I thought it was pretty thoughtful because I sort of gave a shit when some of the dudes died. When was the last time you saw a movie where you gave a fuck if a character died? Terminator 3? Again, why cant we enjoy something even if it doesn’t fit perfectly into our set notion of niche genre? Don’t you sometimes like not always knowing? Are you some crazy religious nut who knows everything? I’m not saying you are, just using it as an example. You see what’s happened, don’t you? That’s Hollywood sodomizing us subliminally, bro. Oh, this movie looked cool, I felt for the characters, at times I felt scared, sad, and happy, but since I cant articulate it to people around the water cooler the next day, I’m ANGRY! Wahh! Was it a comedy? a tragedy? an action/adventure? a philosophical self reflexive piece? what?! Obviously I’m hyperboling, but hopefully I’m making some sense…cause I do know what you’re getting at. even if our narrow imaginations refuse to placate it into one of the tripe genres Hollywood ejaculates at us: comedy, romance, western, action, adventure, thriller, drama, we should still be intelligent and open and receptive enough to appreciate watching something that makes us FEEL an emotion. You watch Irreversible? I hated it when I saw it, but it put me in a deep emotional state. Respect. (also technically it was pretty badass). I hate going to a movie billed as a COMEDY and listening to the cattle like sheeple in the audience laugh at stupid shit simply because they were informed it was a comedy…oh, was that a joke? Well by jove I’ve spent $10 I may as well get my laughs in! HHAAHAHA. You feel me?
    I don’t think he “copped out” either. Have you ever made a film? Put so much of yourself into something? Neither have I. A bit unfair for you to say that. Or have you written a script? Maybe it was written differently in the pages but when they were up there shooting they were like, “fuck, d’ya wanna just shoot this other thing and see how it holds up in the cutting room?” Ya know?

    “The point about discussing it doesn’t make sense either – If I got robbed on Friday, I’d still talk about it Monday.”

    Agreed.

  11. yo!sarrian

    “did anyone really understand human desire to survive through this movie?”

    I mean sort of. I thought the filmmakers did a pretty good job establishing the ambience, the environment. The characters were out there exposed and fucking wolves were closing in on them. I sort of felt like i was in their shoes at certain points. I understood their desire to survive and not become wolf fodder.

    “Did you really get insight into the human condition from this thing?”

    Not really. I mean definitely not as much as when I saw Come and See or Persona or I was a Fugitive from a Chain Gain. Especially by the end, it was like more of a “oh shit look how stoic and heroic Liam is” type of movie.

    “I guess it’s cool if you did – but if you found this deep on any level you should really try reading more or seeing some better films.”

    Pray tell us which better films. I’m really not trying o be a dick. But if you say The Edge or Inception I’m gonna call asshole.

    “To me, this was a pure genre film – with sludgy pacing – and a build up to a climax that never happens.”

    I sort of agree with you, but not really. I found myself rolling my eyes at the beginning when the voice over came in, but, I guess, since I’ve been watching so much pablum lately, I was willing to give it a chance. I agree also- a bit- re the pacing. It felt a tad like the story went….talking/reflecting scene to actiony scene back to talking scene back to actiony scene, etc. It didn’t really bother me though. I wouldn’t say this was a particularly deep film, but it certainly was more than, say, The Edge. I kinda wished The Edge was more like The Grey.

  12. puersenex

    yo!sarrian –

    Great posts, I agree completely. These hypercritical anon nothings have never accomplished anything nearly as brilliant as what the director, writer, cast, and crew did in a collaborative, expressive film like this was.

  13. puersenex

    And how can no one see the relevance in regards to the loss of his wife in real life? This was a deeply personal character portrayal. If no one noticed that, you might be lacking in some sort of human experience and emotion. Might be because you have never really lived, fought, and lost.

  14. yo!sarrian

    puersenex-

    Exactly! The thing about his wife was on my mind the whole time. At first, I thought, “damn, he’s gonna exploit the shit outta those real life emotions,” and then I was like “damn- he did, and it worked brilliantly.” I thought it was great

  15. Cargrill

    yo!sarrian – I’m all for genre movies that don’t stick to the rails.

    The problem for me wasn’t that I went to see an action flick and I was blindsided by a thought provoking and artistic film about a character struggling with his will to survive – the problem for me was that it WAS a cliché action movie that didn’t deliver the satisfaction of a showdown.

    Granted, parts were decent enough. The plane crash sequence was effective, Neeson’s acting was good. Some of the build up in the first half was compelling, and the shots of the wilderness were nice.

    But a lot of it wasn’t good enough to flip the genre on it’s ear. Ottway, the strong silent action hero with a tragic past was not good enough. The group of cliché survivors weren’t good enough. The cartoon Irishman father wasn’t good enough. The nameless/characterless wife wasn’t good enough. The surprise that she was dead wasn’t good enough. The poem was not good enough.

    It IS good enough for an entertaining action movie, where the high concept of the situation and the action is taking centre stage – it’s just not good enough to catapult the backstory/themes and internal struggle of the main character into the main plot of the film and replace the spectacle of seeing A BADASS DUDE FIGHT A WOLF.

    My guess is that they ditched the real ending because the scene was terrible. The explanation about the theme of the story taking over the plot – to me that’s not a real explanation, to me that’s an excuse built up by ego.

    I’m glad people got something out of it – that’s fine. To me that ending made it a flat-out dud.

  16. Cargrill

    The filmmakers liked the Neeson vs. wolf fight enough to shoot it – the marketing people liked the Neeson vs. wolf fight to put it front and centre in the ad campaign – the people I went to the movie with all liked the Neeson vs. wolf fight enough to pay to see the movie – now Carnahan is going to tell ME that I was stupid to expect it, and it was a dumb idea? Screw him.

  17. puersenex

    Cargrill-
    It’s quite possible the your hypothesis about the final scene could be correct. When it’s all said and done, the final scene is all going to be subjective.
    For me, personally, I really appreciate a thought provoking climax and conclusion. Something that stokes my imagination. Not some ending in which the protagonist succeedes, triumphing satisfactorily over the antagonist. And who wants to even see another scene in which the hero dies in a Braveheart cliche, without those real pure terror, humiliation, and pain in those final moments of the plot’s hero? If that’s what you guys yearn, watch Martyr.

  18. puersenex

    I mean c’mon, was it supposed to be some epic battle like in the movie Warrior? Or like he was the same character from Taken, who could slay all who stood in his way?

  19. nicholas w thompson

    The Grey is one of the most enjoyable movies I have seen in the last couple of years. The ending is how I would have ended it. To have the movie goer use their imagination only works in a few plots and it works most perfectly here. Anyways, sounds like there will be an alternate ending when the dvd is out. Overall, the movie is so much more than being hunted by a pack of wolves. It is about the battles of life, the utmost will to survive and the acceptance of death. I purchased the poster, will have it framed and will hang it proudly on my wall in office.

  20. Just A Friend

    i thought the first 20 minutes of the movie were epic, from his back story, to the realistic place crash, and his shocking “you’re going to die, that’s what’s happening” speech. it really captured my emotions.

    i understand why they left out the fight scene at the end… i wasn’t expecting a 5 minute brawl, but they left the audience hanging. i feel like they could have cut out with liam neeson and the wolf going at it for at least 1.5 seconds before the screen went black, instead of ending it with neeson charging.

  21. Jeff k

    Brilliant ending. Not the typical struggle to the end and all but one dead, ending in a feel good rescue. The look in his eyes at the end was haunting. Sure makes you think of the reality of being lost in the wilderness. I honestly expected a helicopter to appear when he was looking up and when the screen went black, i was at first angry at not knowing, but then understood what it meant. Pure hopelessness, lonliness, and despair. Great ending….don’t give an alternate.

  22. Movie goer 33

    i really wished i would have seen a better resolution than that. It was an awesome, emotional roller coaster. But to end it without a climax or a definitive ending kind of bummed me out..i was waiting for him to inflict revenge on the wolves for his fallen comrades but i was left unsatisfied..really wish he would have survived. give an alternate..wouldn’t hurt to give this movie another prospective especially for the people that want a definitive resolution.

  23. supremer

    great ending.i like it more this way to be honest.Like Jeff k said it was pure hopelessness.he knew he was going to die.thats why he put his wallet with the others.and lets be realistic,you cant win against a pack of wolves.Great movie,really loved it

  24. garett worthington

    you should have watched the whole thing at the end of the credits it shows him with his head on the alpha but the alpha is still breathing all in all i think they both die and the title The Grey is a great title cause its supposed to be the time between life and death the darkness ……The Grey

  25. awesome guy 175

    If you watched the whole thing you would get it after the credits there is a 10 second scene with the liam’s laying on the alpha and the alpha is still breathing and so i think they both die.
    However i will inquire that the title The Grey is brilliant it shows the lonly time between life and death the darkness ……..The Grey

  26. confusedaboutTheGreyMarketing

    I feel confused by the ending of the movie. Carnahan wants it to be thought provoking at the end yet he kinda shows you what happens after the fight after credits. Either show the whole fight or don’t show anything after they lunge at each other. Almost like he felt bad for not showing the fight. I really enjoyed the body this movie. but the trailers and the way the story was playing out had me anticipating a huge climactic fight scene where Liam dies but you see him die as a man who wants to live and is willing to fight for that. It’s not what you think before the moment that will forever shape/change/end your life it’s what you do. I really just wish it wasn’t sold on false pretenses I guess. I guess we were left in the grey on that one

    Favorite quote from someone in these comments “It’s like ending Predator with ‘You’re One Ugly Mothefucker” LOL, not really but still funny as hell

  27. Ryan Perry

    Ending equals pissed off 17 year old just saying I mean who doesn’t want to see Liam kick some wolf tail

  28. Jared K

    I checked the deleted scenes on the Blu-Ray release and i have to say, i am SO disappointed with Joe Carnahan; the scene was not there. What the hell is he thinking? Or the distributors? Even though i loved and adored the ending to the film already, i still wanted to see the freaking fight! I’m officially pissed of at Joe and Universal

  29. Bob

    Watched it last night and the final 5 to 10 seconds after the credits did show a scene where the wolf and Liam were shown with the wolf breathing and Liam’s head was on top of the wolf. Dead or alive you don’t know, but I liked the ending.

  30. Jim

    Great movie. Great ending. yet I still wanted to see the fight.

    I even like the idea of seeing the fight from a distance and fading to black.

  31. Juan

    FUCCCC THE BS. Artistic or not this guy is squeezing every possible cent out of this film. If there are any real human eating wolves, it is the marketing crew of this film. They sold the movie for the “badass final showdown, the whole movie builds up to it, they do not show the fight, then they give a glimpse of the dying alpha wolfe, and then this fucccer comes out and says that he shot an alternative ending andhe is going to be SOOO NICE that he is going to put in the DVD. GTFOH! (GETTHEFUCOUTTEHERE). Smart assholes, while some of us drool over the cinematography, others are jumping for an action scene, and some want to “feel”, these guys are worried about how much more can they take your money. So, for everyone to understand what I am trying to say, I will spell it out: Making money > whatever the audience wants or doesn’t want.

  32. eagleeye1

    I would have liked to see the ending after the credits, but I would rather have there be a sequel to the movie if he lives, maybe have it that he is beaten up by the wolf and he has to continue to find civilization, but along the way he finds some other survivors from a different accident. Or an alternate ending would be nice.

  33. Internerd

    I think the ending was perfect as shown.

    You have a man at the beginning of the film, with a rifle barrel in his mouth; ready to throw everything away.
    And at the end, he’s willing to do anything to stay alive. He’ll go down swinging because he feels that he has something left that’s worth fighting for.

    That’s the film’s reward for me, not some CG bullshit punch-up with a wolf.

  34. Christine Wagenblass

    Great film – very spiritual. Beginning narration basically spelled out the outcome to me. Neeson is protecting the workers by shooting wolves in their native habitat. Final scene, Neeson asks for God’s help to intervene and he is then shown that he is the trespasser in the wolf’s den. It went full circle

  35. Eric

    The entire movie is centered around the poem, “Once more into the fray, into the last good fight I’ll ever know, live and die on this day, live and die on this day.” In the way Ottway never worries about rescue but instead on the immediate tasks they must complete in order to survive. Or in the way his wife who we find out died previously tells him not to be afraid, obviously because death is a necessary part of life. And finally in the ending. It makes perfect sense for them not to include the final fight because if the theme of the movie is to focus on the here and now and not worry about the outcome, then it is actually poetic to not actually include the outcome of the fight as, naturally, it doesn’t matter.

  36. dustin

    The ending wasn’t nearly as bad as other say, I think it was very appropriate for the movie. Maybe a few small cut scenes of the fading in and out. Inevitable he had to die there, it would have been obscured if he whooped up that and walked away with no injuries significant enough to where he could hike to civilization. I think the scene at the end of the credits should have rolled at the beginning, and instead a clip of a rescue team get the signal from the GPS finds the wallets, the shows a scene in anchorage with a big funeral.

  37. Daniel

    That shit ass last scene after the credits..like why the fuck even do that.After the entirety of the credits.And then show that the wolf is injured?Like he DID win???Well that just leaves us with a world of in conclusion. Wtf, I think this director is on some head trip.

  38. Rod

    Just rented this movie. We agree that the end was really bad. We kept watching hoping for some redeeming value, like the movie 128 Hours. Even the after credits scene, the alpha wolf on his side with Neeson’s head on the wolf… Really??? Where is the message that the fight is worth it??? Maybe I missed it in the deleted scenes? Our rental version didn’t include any bonus materials.

  39. Brian

    You guys who say the ending sucked need to get outta here. If he included a fight scene, the whole movie would’ve been ruined. All you guys who want to see action, go watch the expendables or some shit like that. Anyone with a brain can tell that 15 minutes into this movie, its gonna be a survival movie, NOT an action thriller. A closing fight with the wolf would be soooo out of place, given the somber music, the wallet contents being shown, the fact that neeson’s character gave up all hope at this point, and all the events prior in the movie, a fight would’ve ruined it. The ending is perfect. End of story.

  40. Afro9strong

    He could have made the ending a bloody battle
    where liam neeson ends up the victor and through
    the victory finds the miracle that he was asking for
    earlier in the film when he looked up at the sky.

    It would have been better to show a bloody fight
    where he pulls it out by the grace of the Almighty,
    He emerges from the snowy forest and collapses by a cabin
    Crawling inside to safety.
    Through his near death struggle he gains a new appreciation for life and faith.This would have been a
    perfect ending.

  41. Afro9strong

    Some might say showing a fight at the end
    would be cliche.But actually NOT showing the
    fight at the end is not only cliche it is
    cowardly.It is insulting to the audience to
    leave it like this.It is definitely a cowardly
    way to end a film.Pretending to let the audience
    imagine the ending, instead of “bringing it home”
    with a final battle in which the Sole survivor
    triumphs over his tormentor(the wolf) and his own demons.
    Yes I think ending it the way he did was a cop out.
    Whenever I see endings like that I assume the director
    has no balls or he ran out of money to shoot an ending!

  42. Kzdog2010

    Honestly, at first, i was upset that they didn’t show the final fight, his last struggle. after a few minutes though, it hit me, they kinda did, when he recites the poem, he knows he will die, but he dies figting, and thats like the perfect ending. i think the movie wasnt like, 100%, i would give it a 3.8/5, but the ending could not have been pulled off better. the ending was a full 5/5 perfect cut, and i think that the people who decided to end it there deserve a standing ovation, the perfect ending, to a not so perfect story.

  43. Poopy

    “badass dude fights a wolf,” is pretty much the most hollow sentiment I can imagine. The movie you are looking for is called Expendables

    The ending was perfect. Of course he dies. That was obvious in the first ten minutes. But he died in the frey.

  44. Pat Larkin

    I realize that i am late to the party here but i saw The Grey when it came out and i was extremely impressed. I was skeptical about seeing the movie because i thought the cgi would ruin it. In fact i thought the ending to the movie was perfect. In my opinion the two best movies that I saw this year were The Grey and Ruby Sparks. I also believe that they had the two best scenes out of all of the movies that I attended. The end of the Grey and Ruby spinning around, both were very emotional scenes.

    Pat Larkin
    Chicago

  45. Reech h

    Glad I didn’t pay for this poc. I just wished I didn’t waste my time watching it. Geee now I’m writing a bad view. More time wasted!

  46. Dex

    Its greatly upsetting to see most like to c the storybook ending. How many complete terrible accidents where any living have died by beast happened? Such wonderous “intelligent” examples the lot of u have given as to y u would be the better director to end this movie I can actually call a movie in a such a mid 90’s bad ass man supernaturanaly overcomes a completely realistic set of challenges. Let me just say how minor league u r to completly change the films genre from real to super dumb. Of course he dies and y shouldnt he? U really think the death of the alpha would be like oh no dont mess with him. They would fight for a new alpha or just swarm it wouldnt take much. Seriously i like a real ending apparently most of u want a superhero last man standing from absolutly nowhere ending its those of u is y we have such crap for us to chose from to make all u happy.

  47. Mike

    sheesh!! I woulda done this, he shoulda done that. SHUT THE FUCK UP or go make your own movie. The Grey wasn’t about the final fight, it was about everything leading up to that, the desire to continue fighting when all is hopeless. Any ending other than this woulda been nothing but cheese. What a bunch of fucking idiots. You are all the reason why i prefer to wait for DVDs rather than go to the theater, sit in a room with a bunch of wannabes. And you show your film “expertise” by comparing this to Schwarzenegger’s “Predator” or “T3″???? I rest my case.

    This ending was nearly as good as that in John Sayles’ “Limbo.” I can only imagine what you fuckups would write about that.

  48. Will Schmidt

    This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I’m not a moviegoer looking for an “artistic” movie or whatever, so to me this movie was not what I was expecting, and that made me mad. Mainly because the film makes itself look like a classic Liam Neeson badass action movie in the trailers and such.

    As for the ending, at least if this film tricked people like me into watching a miserable journey filled with death and hopelessness, it should offer us some reward at the end by having Ottway kick the living shit out of out of the wolf. That would help make up for the rest this awful movie.

  49. David C

    The end was a climax without a ridiculous fistfight with a puppet wolf. Stick to the Rocky movies if you want the expected fight at the end where good triumphs. In The Grey you were disappointed because you wanted the cookie cutter finale? The ending was a perfect conclusion that sticks with you for years. This is why we talk about it. Who remembers most movies the next day? This film leaves you with questions like all ancient classics. What a great, thoughtful film.

  50. somes times had a hard time watching

    okay, it does piss me off not know if Liam’s charc dies or not at the end…..I’m guessing that yes, he killed the wolf and he is laying mortally wounded on top of it – – but could we be given a LITTLE more picture to look at and not be kept guessing, instead of just a flash of film. We had been taken on a wild death ride with these men, shown how horribly each of them had died, but we can’t even see a fade away of Liam laying on the dieing wolf, dieing himself? I get it – He can’t take on a wolf in the condition he is in and expect to win and walk away, he had made his peace and expected to die and wanted to take wolfy with him…..but for goodness sake, we should atleast know what HIS fate was. Don’t leave us guess after had put so much of ourselves into the story line. I know the film in long “in the can”, release and on DVD, but film makers, please – get to know your audience and don’t freaking leave us out on a limb like that when the story is so heartbreaking and intense!

  51. panda

    It was obvious he was going to die, and I’d rather it be that way. The whole movie was amazing, but to not show the fight, for those reasons listed above is just stupid. Everybody who saw the trailer with him wearing broken bottles on his knuckles wanted to see him use them! C’mon, it was such a letdown to end it right there. It could’ve been done very smart, the alpha wolf is such an intelligent killer the dynamic would’ve been crazy. The wolf could’ve had the upper hand during the fight, Neeson’s character could’ve injured the wolf somehow tho after a brief exchange, and then end it that way. To leave it a bi ambiguous is fine, but to not show the final battle at all is such a disappointment. If I saw this in theaters I would’ve been angry.

    I really hope they include the fight scene in the DVD

  52. Konrad

    I’ve seen this movie twice. The first time I saw it was in the theater. I loved it and I felt the ending perfect. If the fight had been shown, it would have cheapened the film. I especially loved the interaction in the beginning among the survivors. I laughed out loud several times. I thought about what I would do in that situation. Would I have the fight in me? Not just against the wolves, but the weather conditions, the constant traveling, injuries, no food, not knowing where you are and if you can find civilization. This movie was much more than just wolves. The wolves just added a psychological stressor and a greater sense of urgency. As great as my sense of self preservation is, I may have taken the Diaz route and just succumbed to the great pressure. However, I saw the movie a second time after the birth of my 1st child. I watched the movie with an entirely different perspective. Not all parents, especially dads, feel the special bond with their children. But I suspect most do. You could tell, Diaz really didn’t have anything to really love for. But Hendricks and Talget had children, which is why they fought until the end. As a non-parent, you can only kind of understand. I saw parents with their children and knew of the bond between paret and child. But once I became a parent, I realizes I didn’t really know shit. The extent of the bond is beyond comprehension. The second time watching, I knew, for my daughter, that I would never give up. That was what this film really brought home to me. As desperation mounts, you must never let it overcome.

  53. Tomm thumb

    A real let down. I was hoping for a little excitment and I left ticked off and wanted to tell everyone not to watch anything directed by this crew. The world of Arts it becoming the world of Nuts.

  54. Jason

    You are all assholes. It’s a brilliant movie. It’s about death. The *big* reveal is that his wife didnt leave him. She died. Of cancer. Then he puts his wallet with the stack signifying him accepting and foreshadowing that he is going to die.

    Then he remembers his father who – the implication was – also died prematurely explaining his father’s oscillation between tenderness and anger.

    He is forgiving his father, his lost wife and seeing them as they were living as best they could when they faced death unlike himself who had become a mopey depressed widower.

    Then he fights the wolf because the wolf is hard boiled but pure; the wolf never stopped living because he accepted death and never let it get on the way of living. So, he fights the wolf who he fears but respects to finally after years of lifelessness “live on this day” that he is also going to die.

    It’s fucking poetry.

    And we are all going to die.

    So get living.

  55. huntwitch

    are all you fucks so stupid that you can’t use your imagination? people who are upset about not seeing the fight are morons.. it ended perfectly.. oh you didnt get to see a man punching into a wolf..use your brain.. a good movie should make us think. not just be handed to us .. in a sense he let us decide how the fight will be.. and after the credits when he lies on the alpha wolf both seemingly dead/dying it shows that not everything works out in life and that everything dies from the human to the alpha wolf that had beem the hunter.. the stronger one.. we are all mortal and death awaits us all.. regardless of what/who we are.

  56. Chris

    Personally I think this is all bullshit if you don’t like a movie don’t watch it it’s okay to criticize things but really who are you to judge you don’t make millions of producing movies so all of you really should just shut your mouth unless you have something good to say otherwise get into the entertainment business and make a better movie Honestly don’t think you guys could. Compare I thought it was a brilliant and creative movie anyone who spent time in the bush Would obviously know And seriously it’s complete ridiculousness that any of you think that one man could survive a pack of wolves with his bare hands that would be complete bullshit and it would never happen you have to be absolutely retarded or have down syndrome to think that that is humanly possible he was praying to God and he didn’t answer so clearly that would be the only person that could make it possible for that to happen it would never happen you guys should all give your head I shake the ending is just supposed to mean one thing if you’re going to go out go out with a bang good job

  57. ondalin

    “Would you have preferred to have actually seen Liam Neeson beat up some wolves or do you like the ending as is?” first of all, this had to be the director’s choice, but, going around and asking people about the ending, i don’t think he should have done that. now, this is the second time i watched this movie tonight, but neither the first time, nor the second time did i had the patience to wait and see the after credit little scene with the wolf that’s dying. but, i did ask myself about the swift ending. now, if the official ending is that liam was about to fight the wolf, and that after the credits, the wolf is dying, there has to be a second part of the movie, to explain what made the character fight, instead of waiting to die. because, if you see him all the movie as being suicidal or thinking about it and, at the end, when he has the chance to die,he fights AND WINS, then, you have to explain what made him do that. it’s not that i really care about seeing a fight between them, its more about the reason he FOUND TO FIGHT THE WOLF AND WIN OVER IT !! so, bottom line, YES, there should be a second part.
    this comment is for the site and the article, and NOT for creating any quarrels or something like that.

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