A-Z Movie Reviews: ‘Alpha Dog’

Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews.  Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection.  How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z).  Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection but this is mine so don’t judge me.  This is simply for fun. 


Okay, so let me start off by apologizing now because my movie reviews for the next two weeks are going to be sad.  That being said, this week we’re talking about Alpha Dog.

 What it’s about:

Drug-dealing delinquent Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) lives the high life in LA, partying with his peers and getting a steady dope supply from dad Sonny (Bruce Willis). However, when a dangerous customer (Ben Foster) refuses to pay, Johnny and right-hand man Frankie (Justin Timberlake) kidnap the junkie’s younger brother Zack (the late Anton Yelchin), intending only to keep the kid hidden and happy until they get the cash. These would-be gangsters find themselves out of their depth when the police get involved.

The film, written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, is based on the true story of the kidnapping and murder of Nicholas Markowitz in 2000. The names of all of the characters have been changed in the film for obvious reasons but the story remains the same.

Alpha Dog is such a sad film and i’ll admit I almost skipped over it and said “nope, i’m not going to review that one.”  That’s not how this works though.  Because I’m reviewing all of the movies in my film collection, the sad ones are included as well. 

The cast of this film is incredible but I have to give props to Anton YelchinHe is just so innocent and adorable onscreen in his portrayal of Zack.  His chemistry with Justin Timberlake is enjoyable to watch because they have a somewhat brotherly relationship onscreen.  This dynamic makes the final moments between Zack and Frankie even more heartbreaking to watch.  No matter how many times I have seen Alpha Dog, I always ugly cry. 

Alpha Dog | Own & Watch Alpha Dog | Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Another member of the cast who gave an outstanding performance was Sharon Stone as Zacks mom Olivia.  The scene when she’s being interviewed about Zack’s death is gut-wrenching.  Sharon is completely unrecognizable and I can feel every ounce of pain and anger coming off of her in that moment. 

Alpha Dog (2006)

Alpha Dog is one of those films for me I don’t often watch because it takes a lot out of you emotionally. I will say this, if you want to watch a film with an amazing and talented cast, I would definitely recommend it.

Alpha Dog is available on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix

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