Alpha Dog

Alpha Dog

Nick Cassavetes (2006)

112min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
A kidnapping goes tragically awry in this rambling crime drama from writer/director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook). Based on the real-life case of Californian drug dealer Jesse James Hollywood, the film explores how a pack mentality and parental disregard can potentially turn even socially respectable teens wild. Emile Hirsch plays a thinly veiled Hollywood - here renamed Johnny Truelove - a wannabe gangster whose privileged life sours when he abducts a junkie debtor's kid brother (Anton Yelchin) and entrusts him to his right-hand man Frankie (an impressive Justin Timberlake). But what makes this boisterous account particularly compelling is that, instead of being shut away, the youngster is treated to a weekend of outrageous partying. His wide-eyed admiration for his captors is heartbreaking, even while individual events, such as his loss of virginity, are quirkily amusing. It's this emotional dichotomy that gives his eventual fate such an unsettling sting, despite Cassavetes's tendency to dilute the impact with showy visuals and faux-documentary inserts.

Summary

A Californian drug dealer kidnaps the 15-year-old brother of a debtor, intending to hold him to ransom until he is paid - but as the enormity of the crime begins to dawn on him, his victim's fate becomes perilously uncertain. Fact-based crime drama, with Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone.

Cast & Crew

Johnny Truelove Emile Hirsch
Frankie Ballenbacher Justin Timberlake
Zack Mazursky Anton Yelchin
Sonny Truelove Bruce Willis
Olivia Mazursky Sharon Stone
Elvis Schmidt Shawn Hatosy
Jake Mazursky Ben Foster
Cosmo Gadabeeti Harry Dean Stanton
Tiko 'TKO' Martinez Fernando Vargas
PJ Truelove Alec Vigil
Pick Giaimo Vincent Kartheiser
Director Nick Cassavetes
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: IconGuidance: Violence, swearing, sex scenes, nudity and drug abuse.Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
Drama