R2 originaali, ei suomitekstejä. Tekstit englanniksi.

Gangsta life on a white tip as good white boys pretend to be bad black boys. Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) is the leader of a pack of small-time hoods in late 90s Claremont , California. These white boys strut around, smoking dope, talking like the protagonists in the heavy rap songs they listen endlessly to and calling everyone in sight 'bitch'. They're not particularly impoverished, they live in pretty nice areas and don't have much need to resort to crime but they do anyway and when finally called upon to put up or shut up they go a step too far. Jake Mazursky, (Ben Foster) a fellow dealer has failed to repay a loan and furthermore failed to respect The Truelove. To make sure Jake knows he means business, Johnny and his pals Elvis (Shawn Hatosy), Bobby 911 (Alex Solowitz) and Frankie (Justin Timberlake) kidnap Jake's younger brother Zach (Anton Yelchin). Wantonness ensues as the tenure of this kidnapping turns into one long party in which, for example, Zach loses his virginity in a threesome. An ensemble cast sees Bruce Willis do a turn as Truelove's dad and elsewhere Sharon Stone and Harry Dean Stanton also turn in bit parts.

Product details

For those who don't know much about Alpha Dog, it is a Los Angeles set crime drama based on a true story. The plot is pretty simple, Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster) owes drug money to Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) and his crew, so they kidnap Jake's brother Zach (Anton Yelchin) until he pays up. But as it gets deeper Johnny realises the trouble he's in and will take drastic measures to cover up his mistakes...

With Alpha Dog, director Nick Cassavetes is covering a very interesting story, based on Jesse James Hollywood, here called Johnny Truelove (the youngest man ever to be on the FBI's most wanted list). The question is: would it carry over well into a Hollywood movie? The answer is, thanks to the performances and easy story telling, yes.

Most of the actors put in very solid performances which makes you care about the story much more. Emile Hirsch is predictably excellent as head man Truelove, getting into more trouble as the film goes on and Hirsch brilliantly shows the panic that the character faces so early in his youth. Also great are Shawn Hatosy as Truelove's right hand man Elvis Schmidt, Anton Yelchin as the kidnapped Zach but the standout is Justin Timberlake as Frankie who is charismatic and very effective in another performance that leads to panic and indecision which he does very well. However, the usually very good Ben Foster as Jake seems to totally overact and shout as much as he can. Bruce Willis doesn't have too much to do as Johnny's dad Sonny but is good to watch as always. There's not many female roles, Sharon Stone is OK as Zach's mum and sexy Mean Girls star Amanda Seyfried is good as one of the crew's party girls.

Another aspect thats effective in Alpha Dog is the storytelling, it doesn't try to pack in too much and just stays easy, relaxing and natural. It could have easily taken the Domino route and just been an overblown event of wild set pieces, but fortunately it has a very much real life feel. It's also got a neat visual effect counting witnesses as it goes along, which also helps you keep track of everyone that seen the horrible mistake these guys made.

Of course the main story in all this is the tragic kidnapping of Zach Mazursky, which actually turns out to be a lot different than you think. Zach actually enjoys hanging out with these guys and is having the time of his life away from his parents, which makes the decision of what to do so much more difficult for the crew. With this story at the centre of attention, there is a lot of pressure on Anton Yelchin, but the future Star Trek and Terminator 4 star delivers very well and you can't help but engage in the confused teenager as the story goes on.

Minor gripes about Alpha Dog are that the film runs a little bit too long for the amount of story it covers and the pointless party scenes take the focus away from the story a bit. Other than that Alpha Dog is a gripping, sometimes heart-felt drama worth checking out for the excellent performances of Hirsch, Timberlake, Hatosy and Yelchin.


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