2 hours, 2 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for pervasive drug use and language, strong violence, sexuality and nudity.
DVD Features: A Cautionary Tale - The Making of Alpha Dog; Witness timeline - Get detailed information on each witness as the shocking events unfold
The film is a fictionalized account of a true story about a Southern Californian drug dealer named Jesse James Hollywood. The characters are a group of kids with no ethics, no roots, ineffectual parents and no direction. Their leader is a teenage drug lord named Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch "The Girl Next Door") whose hero is "Scarface," and who emulates him in all his drug-related dealings. His father (Bruce Willis "Die Hard") helps supply his merchandise. His followers include the completely loyal and slavishly devoted Elvis (Shawn Hatosy "John Q") and a wild bunch of abusive, sexist kids who copy the gangsters they see in rap videos as they roam the local streets hopping from one drug-fueled party to another, always ready to follow orders from their leader.
Johnny sends Frankie (Justin Timberlake), and the gang to collect payment from one of his customers, Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster - TV's "Six Feet Under"), an unstable meth-head. Jake isn't able to come up with payment because his parents (David Thornton " The Notebook" and Sharon Stone "Basic Instinct") refuse to help him, and his 15-year-old half-brother Zack (Anton Yelchin "Hearts in Atlantis") doesn't have any money. So they decide to kidnap young Zack. They have no reason to hurt the youngster, they just plan to hold him until Jake comes up with the money. Problem is, Jake disappears, leaving Frankie with a hostage he doesn't really want, but Johnny doesn't want him either, so Frankie is stuck with him. Zack is just a naive, inexperienced kid, but he's kind of enjoying going with them from party to party, being hit on by girls and offered drinks. He soon becomes friends with Frankie and Frankie's friend Keith (Chris Marquette "Freddy vs. Jason") and they end up taking Zack to Frankie's dad's house in Palm Springs. But as the kidnapping drags on for days with no resolution in sight, Zack becomes a liability. Discovering the consequences of what they have done, Johnny decides to wipe out the damning evidence of his crime, bringing the events to a tragic conclusion.
Southern California is depicted not as a glamorous wonderland, but as a barren wasteland of streets filled with stucco-coated houses and ugly chain-link fences. Writer/director Nick Cassavetes ("The Notebook" ) has shot the film using mostly hand-held cameras, even incorporating documentary-style interviews with some of the characters. Justin Timberlake's is excellent as the emotionally complex and believably kidnapper. Anton Yelchin as Zack is also outstanding. Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster also give memorable performances. This cast of vibrant young performers is the one thing that makes this a film worth seeing.
Bruce Willis ... Sonny Truelove
Matthew Barry ... Interviewer
Emile Hirsch ... Johnny Truelove
Fernando Vargas ... 'TKO' Martinez
Vincent Kartheiser ... Pick Giamo
Justin Timberlake ... Frankie Ballenbacher
Shawn Hatosy ... Elvis Schmidt
Harry Dean Stanton ... Cosmo Gadabeeti
Ben Foster ... Jake Mazursky
David Thornton ... Butch Mazursky
Anton Yelchin ... Zack Mazursky
Sharon Stone ... Olivia Mazursky