Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Albert Hughes, one-half of the former directing twin Duo behind Dead Presidents, Book of Eli and more, finally returns to cinemas with his newest outing Alpha. The 20,000-year-old story behind how man befriends wolf is as old as time and Alpha takes us right there.
Keda (Kodi-Smit McPhee) is the son of to-be leader Tau (Johannes Johannesson) who looks to train his son, amongst others, how to survive and lead a tribe independently. Keda is attacked by a buffalo and thrown off a cliff, leading his father and the rest of the tribe to presume Keda dead. Alas he survives, surfacing on a perch half-way down the cliff. After waking- up from his fall, Keda is determined to find his way home. Along the way, he attacks a wolf and feeling remorse, he nurses it back to health. They become friends on their journey home.
Perhaps some might take issue with the heavy-handed violence involving animals depicted in parts, as admittedly it is a bit hard to stomach. That being said, Alpha is a beautiful-looking Film which sweeps you away in its Cinematography by Martin Gschlacht. At times looking a cut from the same cloth as a DisneyNature Film. Dialogue is sparse hence a bit more trying to keep our attention. While the relationship between Keda and wolf isn’t the warm, fuzzy one that some might be hoping for, we get a unique, authentic fight for survival.
Sony Pictures Canada release Alpha Friday, August 17, 2018.