Adventure Alpha

Review: ‘Alpha’ Offers a Sincere Depiction of the Bond Between Man and Man’s Best Friend

August 17, 2018Sherry Li

Alpha, from director and co-writer Albert Hughes, is a surprisingly beautiful tale that will definitely appeal to all dog lovers. Set in Europe 20,000 years ago, it follows the tenuous bond that is formed between a young man and an injured wolf that he saves.

Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), son of his tribe's chief (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), is brought on his first hunting trip just before the winter hits. Keda is not quite like his father, a tough but compassionate leader who does what he has to in order to survive and tries to pass those skills onto Keda. While they are hunting buffalo, Keda gets separated from the tribe and is forced to use the skills that he has to try and make it home. Along the way, he slowly forms a bond with an injured wolf he nurses back to health, who quickly proves to be an asset not just for surviving the winter, but as his only companion in the unforgiving terrain.

The film is not in English, and though there does seem to be a language spoken, it's unrecognizable to what we speak today. Instead, the movie relies on subtitles, and for the most part, there isn't really that much dialogue, which makes it even more impressive that Smit-McPhee's performance works so well. He's perfectly cast in his portrayal of Keda, and in every scene his face and his actions make it incredibly clear what he is thinking. Smit-McPhee absolutely shines in this film and quickly proves himself to be a young actor with a lot of potential.

The plot may be a bit simplistic, but the film does a good job at building the relationship between the wolf, Alpha, and Keda. The relationship, which is the crux of the movie, quickly develops from one of wariness to friendship. There are plenty of heartwarming moments that every dog owner will recognize in their own pets. And though there are moments where the audience may have to suspend their disbelief, Alpha and Keda's journey together comes off as sincere and honest, while featuring some stunningly beautiful cinematography. The landscape shots are filled with color, stars and gorgeous compositions that will make the entire film float by.

Overall, Alpha is a solid movie and is a must see for all dog lovers. It is gorgeously shot, with many creative, visually pleasing scenes that will transport you back into time, as well as truly depicting the incredible bond between man and his four-legged friend.

Alpha releases August 17th, 2018 from Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for some intense peril. Its runtime is 1 hr. 36 min.

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