Indie Gems: Alpha Dog

Based on the true story of Jesse James Hollywood.


Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsh) is the son of a privileged family and a big time drug dealer. Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster) owes Johnny money, but doesn't respond well to his threats. On a whim, Johnny and his friends kidnap Jake's 15 year old brother, Zack. (Anton Yelchin) At first Zack is afraid, but after awhile they just let him party with them. He gets at ease, he knows his brother will pay Johnny his money, so he goes along and has a good time. He forms a good relationship with Johnny's friends Frankie (Justin Timberlake) and Keith. (Chris Marquette) Things began to go to far, Johnny starts to panic and makes a decision that will change everyone's lives forever.

This is an excellent film about troubled youth. The performances of Hirsh, Foster, Yelchin and even Timberlake are fantastic. Foster in particular shines, he plays a convincing meth addict. His actions, his blood shot eyes, he nails it. Any fan of these actors cannot miss this movie. It's also incredibly sad how far this all went.

Nearly 40 people saw Zack as he was held captive, some even knew about it. Only a few seemed startled, but still no one went to the police. Zack didn't seem to worry, so why should everyone else. Even though you know the outcome of the movie going in (the real prosecutor in Jesse James Hollywood's trial tried to get this film banned because he was afraid it would sway jurors) your heart still breaks at the end of the film. I love how Nick Cassavetes shot this movie. I liked how little closed captions followed each new character being introduced, letting us know their name, and what witness number they are. It feels real and gritty and is a must see. It's hard to believe this is from the same guy that did the dreadful My Sister's Keeper.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You better get down on your cock-sucking knees and PRAY that the cops find you before I do." - Jake (Ben Foster)

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