Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May 1st Log

2007, Nick Cassavetes, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Alpha Dog is the fifth feature film director by Nick Cassavetes, who is the son of the great pioneer filmmaker John Cassavetes. The film never tells us it is based on real events, but clearly the “documentary” notions and the title cards (with dates, times, and witnesses) indict that we are watching a reenacted true story. The film opens with a documentary-like interview of a father discussing bad parenting and one would think the films moral conflict might center around this. Perhaps that was the films intentions, but the unevenness of the narrative never really brought this or any other emotional conflict. Ultimately the film is weighed down by its own flashy shock value and unneeded visual techniques. Granted the cast is young but I thought the performances were ineffective, even by the veterans (especially Sharon Stone)- each of whom overplays there character. There is some entertainment value here and Nick Cassavetes is capable of making better films. Here he seems unsure of what direction to take the film and what to take out, which leaves Alpha Dog feeling uneven. The film is overly ambitious and perhaps might have been better off with a more conventional genre approach.


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