2006   USA Alpha Dog
Alpha Dog Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Nick Cassavetes
Studio:Universal Studios
Writer:Nick Cassavetes
IMDb Rating:6.9 (46,304 votes)
Awards:1 win & 2 nominations
Genre:Crime, Drama
Duration:118 min
Nick Cassavetes  ...  (Director)
Nick Cassavetes  ...  (Writer)
Bruce Willis  ...  Sonny Truelove
Matthew Barry  ...  Interviewer (as Matt Barry)
Emile Hirsch  ...  Johnny Truelove
Fernando Vargas (II)  ...  
Vincent Kartheiser  ...  Pick Giaimo
Fernando Vargas  ...  Tiko 'TKO' Martinez
Justin Timberlake  ...  Frankie Ballenbacher
Shawn Hatosy  ...  Elvis Schmidt
Alex Solowitz  ...  Bobby '911'
Alec Vigil  ...  P.J. Truelove
Harry Dean Stanton  ...  Cosmo Gadabeeti
Frank Cassavetes  ...  Adrian Jones
Nicole Dubos  ...  Neighborhood Girl on Couch
Regina Rice  ...  Dance Bitch Girl
Laura Nativo  ...  Party Girl
Ben Foster  ...  Jake Mazursky
David Thornton  ...  Butch Mazursky
Anton Yelchin  ...  Zack Mazursky
Sharon Stone  ...  Olivia Mazursky
Olivia Wilde  ...  Angela Holden
Heather Wahlquist  ...  Wanda Haynes
Jesse Erwin  ...  Employee
Paul Johansson  ...  Peter Johansson
Danny A. Abeckaser  ...  Latino Youth #1 (as Danny Abeckaser)
James Molina  ...  Latino Youth #2 (as James A. Molina)
Nancy De Mayo  ...  Dale Dierker (as Nancy DeMayo)
Alexandra Cassavetes  ...  Jonna Kirshner (as Xan Cassavetes)
Chuck Pacheco  ...  Chucky Mota
Frank Peluso  ...  Gay 'Lumpy' Yeager
Shera Danese  ...  Abby
Greg Kean  ...  De Rosa (as Greg Williams)
Joshua Alba  ...  Klemash
Shirley Kurata  ...  Lu
Patrick Nguyen  ...  V.C.
Chris Kinkade  ...  Juergen Ballenbacher
Dominique Swain  ...  Susan Hartunian
Chris Marquette  ...  Keith Stratten
Alex Kingston  ...  Tiffany Hartunian
Amanda Seyfried  ...  Julie Beckley
Charity Shea  ...  Sabrina Pope
Bobby Cooper  ...  Bob Nolder
Stephanie A. Fowler  ...  Delores Stratten (as Stephanie Fowler)
Natasha Elliott  ...  Bathroom Party Girl
Amber Heard  ...  Alma
Janet Jones  ...  Elaine Holden (as Janet Jones Gretzky)
Alan Thicke  ...  Douglas Holden
Rick Salomon  ...  Salesman
Lukas Haas  ...  Buzz Fecske
Adrianna Belan  ...  Leigh Fecske
Holt McCallany  ...  Detective Tom Finnegan
Aaron Zigman  ...  composer
Robert Fraisse  ...  Cinematographer
Comments: Inspired by true events.

Summary: With harrowing intensity, Alpha Dog dramatizes one of the most tragically notorious murders in recent history. Ripped from the headlines, writer-director Nick Cassavetes' flawed but riveting crime drama (a polar opposite to his previous film, the romantic hit The Notebook) is based on the real-life case of Jesse James Hollywood, a drug dealer in California's San Gabriel Valley who, in 2000, became one of the youngest men to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Names and details have been changed, but the criminal circumstances remain the same: With family links to organized crime, Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) is on the warpath against Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), a sleazebag addict who owes him money. Fate intervenes when Johnny and his stoner pals including Frankie (Justin Timberlake) encounter Jake's 15-year-old half-brother Zack (Anton Yelchin) and hold him as collateral until Jake pays his debts. What begins as a casual, seemingly harmless situation escalates into a crisis of capital crime, as Alpha Dog employs split-screen, docudrama, and mock-documentary interviews to chronicle a tragic tailspin of reckless events and lawless behavior.
Cassavetes himself became part of the real-life drama when prosecutors (hoping to locate then-fugitive Jesse James Hollywood, who was captured in 2005) gave him legally controversial access to their case files. Alpha Dog clearly benefits from this inside information, and while the film's grueling depiction of underage squalor (including rampant drug and alcohol abuse) is inevitably off-putting and at least partially exploitative, there's no denying that Cassavetes has worked wonders with a well-chosen ensemble cast including Timberlake, who contrasts his music-industry stardom with a convincing performance as a likable, not-too-bright party animal who quickly gets in over his head. The film is ultimately compromised by Cassavetes' ambitious attempt to cover too much dramatic territory, but like his father John before him, he demonstrates a remarkable skill with actors (including Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis, and Harry Dean Stanton in supporting roles), and Alpha Dog is full of powerful, dangerous moments that aren't easily forgotten. --Jeff Shannon

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