Winter is Coming! or Not Week

 

Snowman’s Land (2010) – Not Rated

“When the wife of a crime boss is accidentally killed, the hit man who was hired to protect the remote house in which she was living tries to keep her death under wraps. Fearing vengeance from the gangster, he’s soon locked in a fight for survival.”

First off, I love the title Snowman’s Land. This is a foreign film with subtitles (whoops lost half my audience right there) and the German title translates to Freed Pigs which I don’t understand at all. Winter is clearly in evidence here.

Unlike Deadfall where everyone looked far too pretty to be who they were, the characters in Snowman’s Land all look suitably grubby. Jurgen Rissman plays Walter, a low-level sad sack crook who bungles an assassination. He isn’t very smart but he is leagues brighter than his partner.

Things go comically wrong but not nearly so hysterically as in Headhunters. If you don’t mind reading subtitles then go watch Headhunters. It is hysterically funny as everything unravels. Snowman’s Land isn’t half as clever but is a passable waste of a hundred minutes.

The Grey (2012) – Rated R

“After narrowly surviving a deadly plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, a band of oil riggers must fend for their lives in the ice and snow. But thanks to wolves that view their presence as a threat, they aren’t alone.”

The Grey is a wonderful film but it is important to know what it is not. It is NOT Taken 2  – Taken 2 was also not Taken 2 but I digress. It is NOT an action film. Neither is it truly a survival tale. The Grey is a lyrical treatise on death & dying in the guise of a survival tale.

Unfortunately the studio did not understand what it had or how to market it. Every trailer is cut to make it look like Liam Neeson vs. The Wolves, action extravaganza. The trailers even show scenes that take place in the last few seconds of the film – a definite no-no in my book. Even the tagline from the poster is quite misleading.

There are some quibbles with the film. Occasionally even director Joe Carnahan forgets which film he is making. There is perhaps too much action for an introspective drama yet there is not enough to call this an action film. Flawed though it is, The Grey is a powerful film and the winter scenery is well-realized.