Alpha Dog


Nick Cassavetes’ latest feels like one of those films they tried to salvage in the edit-suite. The ostensible title character – Californian kid-kingpin Johnny Truelove (a miscast Emile Hirsch) – comes over as a support player in his own story. Mock-doc interludes clumsily plug narrative chasms and the tone lurches from teen flick to buddy movie to thriller as the tale lumbers towards its sudden, unsatisfying end. An unpaid drug debt leads to 15-year-old Zack (a heartbreaking Anton Yelchin) being snatched by Truelove as a warning to the lad’s tweaker brother (Ben Foster). Justin Timberlake’s goofy Frankie takes Zack under his wing, getting him drunk, stoned and laid, their friendship his best chance of escape. Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis make parental cameos but Timberlake’s charisma and vulnerability make him the star. Extras comprise a cursory Making Of and a timeline of real witness statements detailing Truelove’s true-life counterpart Jesse James Hollywood.


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