Review of “Alpha Dog” by Nick Cassavetes

Review of Alpha Dog written and directed by Nick Cassavetes
rating **

The underlying story of a kidnapping that may or may not have been a kidnapping that turned into a murder is an interesting one. But the end result here is a missed opportunity.

The writer/director uses two different methods to tell the story. He uses interviews with key individuals documentary style. And he tells the story directly through the characters. He could have completely cut out the documentary scenes and would have made an improvement right there.

Everything about this film feels excessive. The language is excessive. There couldn’t have been a single page of script that didn’t have at least twenty cuss words. Sure kids this age use foul language, but every other word? Much of the acting was excessive. There’s having an argument, having a loud argument, being really mad, then there’s this movie where everyone screams at each other.

The majority of the women are portrayed as sex objects and nothing more. The parents are portrayed as unfit to parent, but they are written over the top so that they become caricatures of bad parenting and not real people, which they were.

The best performances for me were the understated ones. Justin Timberlake was one of the few characters who didn’t scream every line. Emile Hirsch who portrayed Johnny Truelove gave a great performance. Anton Yelchin who played fiftee-year old Zach also gave a good performance.

The best scenes were the ones where there were only two or three characters on screen. Unfortunately, there weren’t very many of those.

I saw the movie on DVD. There is a weak making of documentary but no audio commentary and nothing on the real people who were involved.

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