At the center of this superior stranded-men-picked-off-by-external-threat thriller is Ottway, an anguished loner powerfully played by Liam Neeson. Employed to shoot wolves on the periphery of an Alaskan drilling outpost full of, in his words, "men unfit for mankind," Ottway has to lead a group of these mugs through the snowy wild after a plane crash. The pressing danger is the wolf pack that surrounds them, rarely visible but unnervingly audible. In between the bloody attacks, viewers can ponder issues of fate and chance, along with the irony of how naturally the alpha male wolf assumes his role compared with the dilemma of reluctant human alpha Ottway. The outstanding sound design creates and sustains tension, and director Joe Carnahan parcels out information in quick-cut shards. Neeson and Carnahan explore the nature of heroism (a pet theme of co-producer Ridley Scott) in a film that's both visceral and thoughtful.