Monday, August 10, 2020

Review Alpha (2018)

#Alpha (2018): 6/10

Alpha follows a tribe as they approach hunting season, their one big opportunity for the hunting party to gather as much meat as possible for their people before the harsh winter weather sets in. Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is presumed dead after the hunt doesn’t quite go as intended, and is left to fend for himself by his father, the leader of the pack, far from home with the cold winds slowly approaching.

The casual cinema-goer seems to be a lot more accepting of foreign language films these days since the rise of shows like ‘Game Of Thrones’; a series that showcases many foreign tongues by way of subtitles. Director Albert Hughes decides to go down this route for Alpha, with the entirety of the film spoken in a prehistoric dialect. The film is similar to ‘The Revenant’ in terms of story, but is much tamer in tone. The plot itself is very linear, sticks to the point, and doesn’t really offer much beyond that. Some of the dialogue hints towards a mutiny, which may have provided extra dramatics, but this potential story arc is never explored.

Smit-McPhee does a good job of conveying a vulnerable young man who finds the courage to carry on, not give up, and get back to his family and tribe, using skills taught to him by his father earlier in the piece, all whilst reluctantly managing to tame a wolf that is injured and left behind by its pack in much the same way that he has been. What’s more, the film is visually stunning with its beautiful landscapes and sweeping shots.

Although not particularly original in nature, Alpha delivers a survival adventure story with a lot of heart and charm, some fantastic cinematography, and a touching finale.

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