Alpha Dog may well go down as the most dispiriting film of 2007. It's a sordid depiction of a bunch of sordid people doing unbelievably sordid things. The lunkheads portrayed in this film would be funny, were the results of their vapidity not so inexorably tragic.
Based on a California kidnapping case from 2000, the film centers on a passel of drugged-out teen reprobates for whom every word is a four-letter one beginning with F, every action is a reaction to some perceived slight and every waking moment is an opportunity to be squandered. Writer-director Nick Cassavetes clearly sees his film as a cautionary tale, and there are moments when its depiction of aimless youth gone terribly awry - in cinematic terms, it's a cross between Larry Clark's Kids and Brian De Palma's Scarface - is almost paralyzingly chilling.
Alpha Dog (Universal Pictures) Starring Justin Timberlake, Emile Hirsch, Shawn Hatosy. Written and directed by Nick Cassavetes. Rated R. Time 117 minutes.