Wednesday, February 14, 2007

eyeCandy: Alpha Dog (2007) 4/5

I didn't know what to think when I first heard about Alpha Dog. I mean, was this going to be a Justin Timberlake vehicle or a serious movie. Turns out it is a serious movie, and quite a good one at that.

Alpha Dog is based on actual events: the kidnapping and subsequent murder of a crazed druggy's 15 year old brother by a group of teenagers led by the local pot dealer/wanna-be-gansta. The movie is a disturbing look at the increasing disconnect between real life and the life depicted in rap videos and tabloid news.

Jake Mazursky (played by the talented Ben Foster, best known for his role as Claire's boyfriend in HBO's Six Feet Under) is a psychopathic, drug-abusing Jewish kid with some serious Nazi tats who owes teenage kingpin Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) $1200 in drug debts. The diminutive Truelove tries to play tough and is wholly outclassed by the crazed Mazursky, who demeans Truelove in his retaliation. When Truelove and his crew (including Mr. Justin Timberlake, who is surprisingly capable in his role) happen across Mazursky's younger brother, Zack, Johnny decides kidnapping the kid would be some serious payback. Zack (Huff's Anton Yelchin) is happy to party with the "big kids" (which is what he ends up doing after the first few hours) and figures he'll be back home within days. Needless to say, things escalate beyond all reason.

Alpha Dog is ably directed by Nick Cassavetes, and has a great supporting cast, including Bruce Willis (Johnny's dad), Sharon Stone (Zack's mom), and the first I've seen (although it is brief) of Alan Thicke in years. The fact that this atrocity actually happened is totally disturbing, and it's not exactly a movie that'd make your average parent very optimistic about raising a kid today (at least not amongst the idle rich in Southern California). That said, with the copious sex, drugs, and hip hop involved, that's probably not the target audience anyway.

PS: I hope you didn't expect a romantic movie for Valentine's Day ;-) .
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2/14/2007 09:35:00 PM  

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