Ever walk through a Humane Society shelter that takes care of dogs waiting to be adopted? This movie will provide you with the same emotional charm.
Alpha is an intriguing little movie that will many of you will unfortunately miss. Taking place 20,000 years ago, it tells the story of how humans discovered the heartwarming value of pets.
Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Keda, a teenage boy going on his first hunting trip with a group led by his father (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson). Thought to have died in an accident where he fell over a steep cliff, he is left on his own to find his way back to his village while nursing a badly injured ankle. In the process, he battles a group of hungry wolves where he ends up providing medical care for one of the injured critters. As boy and beast struggle with their connection to each other, a friendship forms as you watch them battle marauding animals and the onset of an arctic winter.
While the cinematography is one of the strengths of this little film, please be prepared for the fact that you are only able to understand the minimal dialogue through the use of subtitles. Interestingly, this serves to strengthen the movie’s historical meaning, as I don’t think there is any proof that Neanderthals spoke English.
Any of you who have pets will love this film. As noted, the movie focuses on what appears to be the origins of what we call man’s best friend. As I have noted before, Mo and I have five rescue dogs and one cat at home. They are all tiny little creatures and three of them sleep in our bed. I was reminded of the warmth they provide while watching the wolf crawl up and sleep next to Keda to keep him warm on a cold night.
What makes this film so enchanting is the performance of Smit-McPhee. While many of you will remember him from his role as the Nightcrawler in the recent X-Men: Apocalypse, you really owe it to yourself to view his contributions in the tantalizing horror films The Road (2009) and Let Me In (2010). The first film is an apocalyptic drama where his father (Viggo Mortensen) takes him on a journey through cannibalistic humans to try to find a peaceful existence. Let Me In is one of the best vampire films ever made where Smit-McPhee plays a young boy constantly bullied at school who ends up befriending a mysterious teenage girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) who moves in to his apartment building with her father (Richard Jenkins) one night.
In the end, Alpha is really a poetic story on the meaning of human existence. We all struggle to find joy in life as each day passes with us growing closer to death. Few things add more pleasure to our journey than having a spud at your side.