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ALPHA DOG: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
When the manic dopehead Jake (Ben Foster) fails to come up with the $800 he owes the San Gabriel Valley's wanna be thug and drug dealing Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), Truelove and his band of young followers kidnap Jake's 15 year old kid brother Zack (Anton Yelchin), in a spur of the moment decision. For the next three days, they cart him around unsure what to do, going from party to party and getting to like the kid. But then it dawns on them - with some help from those around them who are aghast - that they face a life in jail for their actions. Johnny gets desperate and what was seemingly silly suddenly becomes deadly. (Based on real events.)

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
They're cool, white middle class Los Angelean teenagers with too much time and money on their hands - and not enough parental involvement. Of course they get into trouble. In this fact based story (inspired by Jesse James Hollywood, one of the youngest men to ever be on the FBI's most wanted list), Nick Cassavetes explores the world of Southern Californian teenagers who lack parental discipline. But unlike disadvantaged kids in poorer areas, these kids have money and opportunities.

The subject is valid and the filmmaking is mostly superior, with a spectacular ensemble cast, spiced up by a few oldies (Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone) in parental roles. The film has a half hearted attempt at masquerading as a documentary, with an off screen interviewer and some text captions, but this is almost like an afterthought. There are a few split screen scenes, and this, too, is used intermittently and without a clear rationale. But these are minor failings as the film packs a powerful whallop - I can see how it might affect fans of the film, even though I find the subject tiresome and over-used. I can also resist movies with heavy rap music soundtracks and the incessant expletives tend to grate.

It would be great to imagine that the teenagers drawn to Alpha Dog will heed its lessons, but it's more likely that many of them secretly (or not so secretly) also fancy themselves as sexy, hot, cool and forever young gangstas.

DVD includes a making of featurette plus 'witness timeline' featurette.

Published November 15, 2007

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

ALPHA DOG: DVD (MA15+)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Harry Dean Stanton, Fernando Vargas, Anton Yelchin, Vincent Kartheiser, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy, Amanda Seyfried, Charity Shea, Heather Wahlquist, Alex Solowitz, Alec Vigil, David Thornton, Lukas Haas, Amber Heard,

PRODUCER: Sidney Kimmel, Chuck Pacheco

DIRECTOR: Nick Cassavetes

SCRIPT: Nick Cassavetes

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Fraisse

EDITOR: Alan Heim

MUSIC: Aaron Zigman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dominic Watkins

RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 5, 2007

PRESENTATION: widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of; featurette: Witness timeline

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

DVD RELEASE: November 14, 2007







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