Alpha Dog

Rated 3.0

A Southern California drug dealer (Emile Hirsch) kidnaps the kid brother (Anton Yelchin) of a guy who owes him money (Ben Foster), then begins to worry that he may have to get rid of the kid to avoid hard time; meanwhile, the kid thinks it’s all a big party and he’s having the time of his life. Basing his script on a real-life case (changing names and locations), director Nick Cassavetes paints an engrossing portrait of youthful recklessness, cluelessness, venality, amorality and just plain old garden-variety stupidity. He takes a semi-documentary approach, and the film has the immediacy of an episode of Cops. There are guest-star turns by Bruce Willis as Hirsch’s disreputable father and Sharon Stone as Yelchin’s distraught mother, and excellent work by Justin Timberlake as a reluctant accomplice.