Johnny and a couple pals kidnap Jake's 15-year-old brother, Zach, then assigns his buddy Frankie to be Zach's minder. They develop a brotherly friendship. Zach parties with his captors as things begin to spin out of control.
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
Spree Killer Elliot Rodger named this movie as one of the factors that influenced and inspired him to commit his 2014 massacre in which he murdered 6 people. See more »
The morning of Zack Mazursky's kidnapping is stated as Friday, November 6, 1999. November 6, 1999 was actually a Saturday. 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.
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After the end credits, the following caption appears: 'For Nicky, May Your Slumber Be Blessed'. 'Nicky' is Nicholas Markowitz, the 'true' name of ill-fated Zack Mazursky played by Anton Yelchin. See more »
Powerful and realistic. Well done by Cassavetes and Timberlake.
Alpha Dog starts off as what seems like a movie all about a group of friends who life their idea of the American dream: doing drugs, having sex, and hanging out with each other not a care in the world. However, when their leader, Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), decides to kidnap the brother (Anton Yelchin) of a man (Ben Foster) who owes him drug money, their perfect world begins to shatter as they realize that their mindless prank has become a situation that could get them stuck in jail for the rest of their lives.
The acting is pretty good considering the cast is mostly young men with little to no experience. First, you have Anton Yelchin, whom the plot centers around. He is the young man trying to grow up, and finds a real sense of comfort in his captors, as weird as it sounds. He does a great job building a likable, yet flawed character. The film definitely displays likable characters, but the audience has to remember that these characters are not good people. Ben Foster has always been around in my eyes, and he delivers his most intense role yet as the scary and sadistic Jake Mazursky. Very good job. Emile Hirsch is steadily developing into a good leading man after nice turns in Lords of Dogtown and The Girl Next Door. He's the leader of the group, and he has a certain presence despite his small size that reminds the viewer who's in command. Sharon Stone continues to defy my expectations of her after watching her in Bobby and this film. Very intense and powerful performance, which is very heartfelt at the end of the film. However, none of these performances stack up close to that of GASP Justin Timberlake. Timberlake really stood out to me in the film as Frankie, Johnny's best friend. He develops a strong friendship with Yelchin's character, and Timberlake really steals the show the whole time. His character is the most believable and likable of the bunch. Bruce Willis and Shawn Hatosy are also good in limited screen time (I don't think I've seen Willis have this much hair in a long time).
Nick Cassavetes does a good job as director, giving us the exact opposite of his most famous work to date, The Notebook. He delivers the gritty and realistic feel of 1999 Southern California and gets great performances out of actors who you don't really expect it from. The film definitely was better than I expected because of Justin Timberlake. I thought he would make the film worse but he made it better. It has some sex scenes and nudity, not to mention a lot of language, so Alpha Dog isn't really appropriate for anyone under 16 or 17. With a good ensemble cast, a good script, good direction, and a heart wrenching climax, Alpha Dog is a good movie to watch.
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