Alpha review - a stirring, beautiful story of survival and friendship
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Verdict: Alpha is a straightforward and predictable tale of survival and the bond between man and beast - but breath-taking visuals and just enough emotional heft make it a journey well worth the time. The preview screening I attended was dog-friendly, meaning that there were several wonderful dogs in attendance. Fortunately, there were only two instances of sporadic barking during tense, dramatic moments - the dogs waited until the end credits to launch a chorus of barks and howls. They were probably voicing their approval, since Alpha is a pretty good movie. The story centres on a young would-be hunter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) 20,000 years ago. Injured and left for dead by his tribe in the aftermath of his first hunt, he faces a long and perilous journey home. Along the way, he befriends a wolf which, as Morgan Freeman's narration informs us, marks the start of the bond between man and canine. Yes, apparently in the year of our Lord 2018, and even after the sexual harrassment accusations, there are still movies made that unironically have Morgan Freeman narrating them. His awesome voice is such a meme at this point that it's genuinely odd when something like this happens. Back to the movie - Alpha isn't the kind of story that will wow you with shocking twists and ground-breaking ideas. You can probably see most of the big emotional and narrative beats coming a mile away (especially if you see the trailers that practically contain all of them). The main selling point here is the truly spectacular cinematography. Large, sweeping landscapes that are just begging to be seen on a big screen.
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