A Boy and His Dog:
Alpha is a Fun Adventure the Whole Family Can Enjoy
As something of an amateur anthropology buff, I'm always excited when movies about the early days of mankind are released. They don't get made very often, but when they do, I make sure to seek them out. Naturally, when I'd first heard about Albert Hughes' (Menace II Society, The Book of Eli) new film Alpha, I couldn't wait to see it. The film ended up pleasantly surprising me in many different ways.
Set in Europe 20,000 years ago, the film follows young Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) on his first hunting trip with his tribe. After a chaotic battle with some bison, the boy gets separated from his tribe and must find his way back home alone. Along the way, he meets a wounded wolf who he nurses back to health and the two lost souls begin to form a bond that serves as the beginning of the connection between man and dog.
The first surprise is the fact that the film is absolutely gorgeous, with some of the most amazing visuals I've seen in quite some time. The even bigger surprise was to see a major studio release with so little dialogue, and when there is dialogue, there isn't a single word of English (it seems the filmmakers created a new language for the film inspired by American Indian languages). This fact may scare away some viewers, but I think they will find much to enjoy. Some parents may find it too intense for children, but slightly older kids will really connect with the bond between boy and wolf. Don't let the slow pace and lack of dialogue intimidate you. Who knows? It may even get some kids interested in anthropology. — Forest Taylor
Directed by: Albert Hughes // Written by: Danielle Sebastian Wiedenhaupt // Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Natassia Malthe, Leonor Varela, Jens Hulten, Mercedes de la Zerda, Spencer Bogaert and introducing "Chuck" // 96 minutes