1999, Claremont, California. Middle-class kids, in their 20s, talk trash, wave guns, hang out in a pack. Johnny Truelove, drug dealer and son of a underworld figure, threatens Jake Mazursky, an explosive head case who owes Johnny money; Jake responds by breaking into Johnny's house. On impulse, Johnny and a couple pals kidnap Jake's 15-year-old brother, Zach. Zach's okay with it, figuring his brother will pay the debt soon. Johnny assigns his buddy Frankie to be Zach's minder, and they develop a brotherly friendship. Zach parties with his captors as things begin to spin out of control. Group think, amorality, and fear of prison assert a hold on the pack. Is Zach in danger? Written by
During filming, Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Ronald J. Zonen provided copies of virtually every document in his file on the real life case and served as an unpaid consultant to the film. See more »
Characters play Xbox, despite the fact that it was first sold in 2001. See more »
You wanna know what this is all about? You can say it's about drugs or guns or disaffected youth, or whatever you like. But this whole thing is about parenting. It's about taking care of your children. You take care of yours, I take care of mine.
See more »
After the end credits, the following caption appears; For Nickey, May Your Slumber Be Blessed ('Nickey' is Nicholas Markowitz...the 'true' name of ill-fated Zack Mazursky played by Anton Yelchin) See more »
Having learned about the "Jesse James Hollywood" case during my junior year in high school, I'll admit that I was actually extremely disappointed to find out that a film was being made depicting the events that had happened. However, I can now say, I think differently.
The basic premise, without giving too much away, involves a drug deal gone awry. Someone isn't paying Johnny Truelove, and that someone, just so happens to have a little brother. A naive, fifteen year old, little brother (played powerfully by Anton Yelchin) who just wants to live his life. The boy is kidnapped, and held as a sort of ransom, until Jonny gets his money from boy's brother. Johnny's friends become attached to the boy, and eventually, the boy learns a life lesson.
It may all sound played out and done before, but this film is electrifying in every sense of the word. It's hardcore. It's raw. It's at times gritty. (I felt some vibes from the Larry Clark film "Bully", with the whole "kids-doing-what-they-want-anytime-anywhere thing"). You feel as though you're watching these people's lives just crumble before them, making it all the more worse is the grim reality that's stuck in the back of your mind, reminding you that this is all true. Nick Cassavetes has created such a true-to-life depiction of what happened, that it's almost frightening. You won't want to look away.
There are a few downsides however, one being the running time, either the movie was too dragged out or was just moving too slow. To me, I felt as though it could have ended fifteen minutes earlier. There's also a lot of partying, however, this being a depiction of a real life set of teenagers' lives, I can see why it was so vital towards the film. These kids have parents who do as much as they do. The parents don't care what happens to these kids, which makes it all the more terrifying. These kids are on their own. They have nowhere to run and no one to turn to for help.
With an all-star cast, and top performances all around (not a fan of Justin Timberlake? You will be after this film. Trust me) this film is one not to be missed. The ending is so shocking, that it's a wonder I didn't expect it early on. 'Alpha Dog' is an emotional roller coaster that will have you glued to the screen right from the emotional opening credits.
136 of 175 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?