Hollywood has a long and enjoyable history of crafting alternate realities to allow the viewer to escape for a brief while into a world quite unlike their own. The recently released film, The Grey, takes that to a dangerous place by passing off the director Joe Carnahan’s ridiculous portrayal of wolves as an aggressive and threatening force.
“The Grey” presents far flung tale of a group of stranded oil workers who are preyed upon by a pack of wolves. In Mr. Carnahan’s telling of his story, these wolves return time and again to attempt to drive these hapless oil workers from their territory.
Mr. Carnahan apparently did little to research his foil–wolves–as the notion that this species seeks out contact with human populations is demonstrably false (as anyone who’s sought to photograph them will likely agree).
Were it simply a well crafted, albeit fictional, story it might be enough to just say, “No thanks, maybe I’ll watch it online”. Sadly, by choosing one of the most maligned species in North American history to play the role of the aggressor in this film, Mr. Carnahan has solidified a long-held misconception about wolves.
From the Halls of Congress where Representative Steve Pearce claimed that “Nothing is more attractive to a wolf than the sound of a crying baby,” to the ranches of the Northern Rockies where some still cling to the belief that wolves are a primary threat to their herds, wolves are already misunderstood enough.
His fictional filmmaking comes at an especially inopportune time for wolves too. Recently removed from the Endangered Species List in several states, these creatures are now being hunted for sport. Maligning them in the eyes of the public makes these efforts to balance conservation with good management all the more difficult.
Adding insult to injury (or in this case death), Mr. Carnahan reportedly sought and purchased four wolf carcasses
from a trapper and convinced the cast of his film to eat them. What this added to the production, I have little idea.
Despite the demonstrated falsehood of the premise of his film and the grave lengths he went to in its production, Mr. Carnahan is aggressively defensive about his movie. A quick perusal of his (frequent) activity on Twitter
shows that he’s more comfortable slandering foes of his project than trying to understand their concerns.
Asking you not to see the movie, further lining Mr. Carnahan’s pockets, would be an obvious request. Politely posting to his and the movie’s facebook and twitter pages is an easy way you can voice your disappointment in Mr. Carnahan’s choice of use of his talents.