Alpha

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Wick's Review

Created Aug 24, 2018 10:47PM PST • Edited Sep 08, 2018 11:10AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Behold the best movie of the year. Alpha leads the pack literally and figuratively. Vividly realistic if surreal sequences of life in Europe 20,000 years ago cradle a family love story and one of the best dog stories ever.

    What’s not to love?

    The most intense opening scene of an action-adventure movie ever leads to a tightly edited if stately 96 minutes of 3D IMAX intensity. The action sequences come roughly every ten minutes, each incredible. Hell, the second scene in the nearby trailer is brutal evidence. Damn. It’s totally worth it in IMAX 3D.

    This is a very well structured film, from the first flashback five minutes in to when it rejoins the main narrative arc twenty minutes later to when earlier scenes are recalled at key dramatic junctures. Bravo!

    Oh yeah, dog lovers pretty much gotta see Alpha. In dog movie terms, it’s the OG leader of the pack.

  3. Perfect 5.0
    • Chuck is only part wolf, but sure looks the part of alpha wolf, private parts notwithstanding.
    • Kodi Smit-McPhee plays the sensitive boy who becomes a man with the help of man’s first dog.
    • Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Icleandic actor, jumps offscreen as his dad, big chief Tau. Jóhannesson has high cheekbones and intense eyes.
    • Natassia Malthe is equally mesmerizing as the third member of this iconic nuclear family, the wife and mother Rho. Norwegian model and actress Malthe gives the movie soul.
    • Leonor Varela is a female Shaman.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    All hail Albert Hughes for writing the screenplay and directing this magisterial film. A tight 96 minutes, it is perfectly elemental, albeit overtly manipulative. That last is partly because it’s PG-13 but mostly because it compresses hundreds of years of evolution into the course of one transformative winter. Only in the movies, as they say, and yet this is the most realistic cinematic depiction of prehistoric man I’ve ever seen.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5
  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Musical Credit: Bone Flute

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Filmed in Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canada standing in for the France of 20,000 years ago.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.7

    The scariest scene in the movie is the second scene of the nearby trailer. If your loved one can handle that, they’re good to go for this intense PG-13 coming of age movie.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Brutal 3.0
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.2
  18. Surreal 2.2

    The action sequences are circumstantially surreal and their consequences biologically surreal.

    Movie hocus-pocus aside, Alpha deserves hosannas for an apparent devotion to anthropological accuracy, or at least so it appears. From the authentic sounding prehistoric language, to the crafting of flint blades, to the family and tribal structure, the details feel authentic, notwithstanding the surreal action sequences.

    One observation: back then, men were men and nuclear families were all.

    Moviepaws has 7 burning questions about Alpha.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0
  20. Biological Surreal 2.1
  21. Physical Glib 1.4

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