The Grey

Musical Score By: Marc Streitenfeld

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In The Grey, Liam Neeson is John Ottway, a hunter hired by an Alaskan oil drilling team to keep them safe from the wolves in the area.  After completing their job, John and the rest of the team attempt to fly home during a blizzard.  Their plane crashes and John finds himself in the unenviable job of leading the survivors through the remote Alaskan wilderness.  Unfortunately, the plane has crashed in the heart of wolf territory and the natives are getting hungry.  Can Ottway lead his group to safety or will they all become prey to grey wolves?

            The musical score of The Grey was created by German composer Marc Streitenfeld.  Moving from Germany to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to pursue a career in music, Marc Streitenfeld worked and studied with Hans Zimmer before catching the ear of director Ridley Scott.  Since then, the two have become somewhat of a team, with Streitenfeld composing music for a number of Ridley Scott films including A Good Year, American Gangster, Body of Lies and Robin Hood.

            The Grey Soundtrack features orchestral music that begins on a sad note.  As the lead character writes a letter to his wife, we can sense the sadness and despair he feels through the music.  The following track features music that describes a morose sense of beauty.  After that, things become ominous.  Perhaps the most spooky track of the album is Walking in which a scraping noise accompanies the subdued orchestral tones, signifying the plane crash survivors shuffling through the snowy Alaskan wilderness.  There is an air of uncertainty in the music, clearly defining the survivorsí fears on the trek.  Next scariest is the Eyes Glowing track in which, I would imagine, the survivors get their first glimpse of the wolves that are stalking them.

            The entire album has a sort of morose tone to it, even throughout the various wolf attacks and defining character moments of the film.  For the final track, Into the Fray, one would expect an action-based composition, however, the music is somewhat calm, as if John Ottway has resigned himself to his fate and is at peace with his decision to fight the wolves at all cost.  It is the kind of composition one would expect to find in a scene with very little speech or other sound (growling perhaps); a scene in which man and wolf face each other in a soundless battle followed by the rolling of credits.

            In creating a musical score for The Grey, Marc Streitenfeld forewent the traditional psychological thriller/horror soundtrack rules.  Sure, he threw in some disjointed sound and a couple of music bursts to heighten the intensity of the score, but the music created by Streitenfeld for this film really defines the characters and their internal struggles.  I found the soundtrack of The Grey to be a tad bit depressing, but at the same time, possessing a beauty that one would not ordinarily associate with this sort of film.  By going in a different direction with this composition, Streitenfeld has created quite a unique musical score worth checking out.


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