If I was a filmmaker, I imagine it would drive me crazy if the marketing for one of my movies misled audiences, with trailers and TV ads giving people the impression they might be seeing something different from what was actually made.
So when The Grey was being sold as a man vs. animal, man vs. nature drama, I wonder if Joe Carnahan was grinding his teeth a bit. Maybe not, because this movie is indeed about those conflicts. (Plus, it finished No. 1 at the box office last weekend, so he's probably cool with it all.) The characters battle sub-zero temperatures, roaring winds and thigh-high snow. And then, there are those big, bad wolves, ready to tear up some people for meal and sport.
But maybe you've also been reading that The Grey goes a bit deeper than that. This gets downright existential.
Working on an oil pipeline in remote Alaska, marooned from family and friends, with getting drunk at the on-site bar the only means of recreation, would probably push anyone to the brink of insanity. But Liam Neeson's character, Ottway, is on the brink of something else when we first see him. He's deeply unhappy, presumably over missing his wife.
We don't know why the two are apart. Did she not like him leaving for Alaska and being gone for who knows how long? Did he go to Alaska because his life had fallen apart back home? Is he the detached, aloof sort of personality that's better suited to solitude? Just a man and his rifle, off in the distance, deriving some sense of purpose out of picking off the wolves that might attack the pipeline workers?