It’s a survival film. It pissed of PETA. It’s got religious undertones, and a guy punches a wolf in the face. All in all sounds like the recipe for an awesome thriller. It’s about a plane crash in the arctic north and the survivors have to make their way to civilization.
The thing I love most about this film is the Parallel structure it employs. Scenes in the human world are paralleled in the animal world several times in the film. The reason a narrative may employ a parallel structure is for economy, clarity and equality. As for economy, it’s a kind of short hand. As for clarity, you can think of it as repetition. Equality gives disparate elements equal weight in importance.
An example from this film is after the crash, Liam Neeson takes the leadership role, we get the presence of an Alpha Male in the wolf pack. There’s one man who challenges Neeson and moments later we hear a challenge in the wolf pack that the alpha crushes violently. Moments after that Neeson is physically challenged by another man who does not like that Neeson has called him out on his fear. That same man gets attacked by an Omega, a lone wolf outside the pack. The parallelism comes in this character has ousted himself from the pack by rejecting Neeson’s leadership, thus becoming the human Omega.
There’s also a lot of religious imagery in the film, down to the film’s ending where Neeson becoming the sacrificial lamb in the den of his enemies. It’s really a remarkable film for study, though it was a modest hit and was a critical success it never really found a huge audience. I recommend a viewing because the acting is topnotch all around and the story IS engaging. Those freakin’ wolves come out of nowhere and that’s scary!