Alpha: An Engrossing Tale of Friendship, Backed by Exquisite Visuals
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
The idea behind Alpha’s story is quite predictable – how dogs became man’s best friend. The enthralling visuals, camera-work and the crisp engaging storyline makes the film stand out as a classic adventure movie.
Director Albert Hughes’ fictional story is set in Europe, 20,000 years ago. Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt’s script wastes no time in introducing the tradition of the tribes, the young hunter Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and how he gets separated from his tribe in an annual hunting event. The story then follows the bonding between Keda and a wolf and their tale of survival against the odds during the journey though the icy plains and mountains.
Right from the slo-mo shot in the opening sequence, where a steppe bison throws Keda off the cliff to the shots of the night sky and the chilling sequence where a big cat pounces on the wolf, a of credit goes to the production design and art department. Alpha is a one-of-a-kind movie where the director has given importance to the natural elements, the northern lights, the snow and the hailstorm, drawing the audience into the perilous setting and into the journey of the duo.
Kodi Smit-McPhee excels as a kind-hearted son of a tribal chieftain and his bonding with this canine counterpart is right on point. The antics of the Czechoslovakian wolfdog and the Keda attempts to bond with the wolf are endearing. The movie’s script uses minimal dialogues delivered in a fictional language along with subtitles, lending an authentic feel to the period in which the movie is set.
Though Alpha is CGI heavy, Albert along with cinematographer Martin Gschlacht has experimented and taken advantage of the vast scenic locales in rural Canada and Iceland. Joseph S. DeBeasi’s soundtrack is riveting during the final arduous journey of the duo through the icy plains. The movie is like a fairy tale in parts, perfect in technical aspects and yet retains a classic touch throughout. Alpha is one of the movies that deserves to be watched on an IMAX screen to unlock the full potential of this wide-screen magical adventure.