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Alpha - Film Review

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Published September 23rd 2018
Young Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee leads the pack in Alpha
Alpha is a 2018 historical adventure drama, based on a group of tribal warriors and a young warrior (the son of the leader) who joins the tribe on his first hunting season. Keda, the young warrior, is known to lead with his heart and is assumed dead after an attack and abandoned by his tribe on a cliff. What follows is a tale of his survival in the wilderness and his homecoming.

Alpha the film
Alpha Official Poster from Wikipedia


Alpha was shot in the Alberta region of Canada, which bears a close semblance to Europe during the ice age 20,000 years ago. The wilderness visuals in that region and in the nearby British Columbia are known to be pretty spectacular. Couple that with excellent cinematography and that makes Alpha a great watch for the big screen. Scenes of large uninhabited areas, a sunset, starry night sky and visuals of Kodi Smit-McPhee (who plays Keda the lead) along with the lone wolf walking through the wilderness make quite an impact on the viewer. It's a very surreal moment in the movie as well and is only exemplified by the camerawork.

Following a hunting accident and a fall from the cliff, Keda is assumed dead and his body abandoned by his tribe. Keda's survival story is not just one of mere luck but is backed by some heroic acts as well. He lands at the bottom of the cliff aided by the rain and a strong current that deposits him safely on the plain land. He has, however, a broken foot but ensures he holds it together as he resumes the search for this tribe. He is attacked by a pack of wolves and injures one wolf in a pack that attacks him in order to defend himself. However, he is unwilling to let the wolf die a dismal death when he realises it has been abandoned by its pack. He carries the wolf to shelter and feeds it forming a special bond with the wolf, who he calls Alpha. Over the next season, Keda and Alpha form a support system to each other while Keda tries to trace his way back home.

There are many subtle elements of the movie that embellish its worth including the forgotten language they use to communicate, the scenes of large sheets of ice over the frozen lake and the pinnacle ending that seals the whole story together so beautifully bringing meaning to the name of the movie as well as the journey. Keda's character is vulnerable yet powerful and perhaps much more than young Keda even realises. His transformation journey from boyhood to manhood and from follower to leader portrays how Keda finds his own strength and determination while supporting the wolf and using him as his companion in those weak moments. It is revealed towards the end of the movie that Keda's strength was also the result of the belief and trust that his father had in him, although he portrayed a hard and tough exterior in front of others.

The movie is not dialogue heavy also owing to the fact that the language spoken is not English and requires the audience to read the subtitles to follow the conversation.

Kodi Smit-McPhee, the young Australian actor plays the lead role, Keda. Alpha is written, directed and produced by Albert Hughes and will release across Australian cinemas on 27th Sept 2018 right in time for the NSW Labour Day long weekend.

Watch the official trailer here

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