Alpha Dog - Preview
Preview by Jack Foley
A STRONG ensemble cast unites for Nick Cassavetes’ Alpha Dog, the keenly anticipated indie flick that has been selected to close the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Based on the true story of Jesse James Hollywood, a mid-level drug dealer whose ambition and ruthlessness led him to become the youngest man ever to appear on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, Alpha Dog is said to be a grittily authentic look at teenage life on the edge.
It stars Emile Hirsch (of Lords of Dogtown fame) as Johnny Truelove, a teenage suburban drug dealer, who becomes seduced by the ‘gangsta’ lifestyle of guns, sex and drugs.
Johnny begins to find himself a little out of his depth, however, when a rival cheats him and he retaliates by kidnapping the client’s younger brother – a victim who gleefully takes part in the ploy unaware of his potential fate.
The kidnap sets in motion a chain of events that quickly spiral out of control for just about everyone concerned.
Aside from Hirsch, Cassavetes has assembled a top-drawer ensemble cast including the likes of Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone and a certain Justin Timberlake (appearing in the first of two new films in 2006).
Already, the vibe surrounding Alpha Dog is good. The Sundance website describes the film as ‘dense, galvanizing filmmaking, seething with tension and culminating in a tragedy that would be shocking if we weren’t so aware of the kind of world we live in’.
It adds that Cassavetes has successfully created ‘a place with kids who live without mores, parents who don’t have a clue and ongoing conflict between the lingering innocence of youth and moral disintegration and dissolution’.
This one could well become one of the hottest indie tickets of the year.