Avram Kaplan

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Alpha Dog Review


Weak
Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog is an infuriating misfire that would have been much more easily overlooked had it managed to stay true to one vision or the other; instead, Cassavetes (who also wrote the screenplay) keeps one foot in the teen-exploitation camp and another in the hardboiled true crime camp, never quite making up his mind which way to go. For every moment that plays real there are at least two that absolutely do not, producing a wildly schizophrenic film that has many chances at greatness and misses nearly all of them.

The pugilistic script is based on one of those fascinatingly ugly crime stories that come rocketing out of Southern California every now and again, to much clucking of tongues over wayward and rudderless youth. Following the sad state of events that leads a drug dealer to kidnap the younger brother of a client who owes him money, as a means of extracting said payment, the film traces how the kidnapped teenager (a momma's boy who yearns for rebellion) develops a horribly overwrought case of Stockholm Syndrome, earnestly believing he's just having a good time with the dealer's hard-partying friends. In fact, while the kids party like it's 1999 (the year the kidnapping actually took place), imbibing copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, the dealer, Johnny (Emile Hirsch, like an evil version of Turtle from Entourage) is panicking, having realized what he's gotten himself into.

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Alpha Dog Movie Review

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Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog is an infuriating misfire that would have been much more easily...

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