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Those with a soft spot for The Jungle Book or The Lion King (that’s me) will very possibly like this in spite of themselves, and in spite of a well-founded wariness of films set tens of thousands of years in the past featuring actors in animal skins doing subtitled grunting. We are in a prehistoric time of vast and vaguely Tolkienesque landscapes where bedaubed hunters and CGI bison roam the land. Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Keda, the teenage son of tribal chieftain Tau, played by Icelandic actor Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson – a burly and substantial figure who must surely be in pole casting position for any upcoming biopic of Orson Welles. Keda annoys his dad with callow shortcomings such as failing to make fire by whizzing a stick on a bit of stone with sufficient mature and manly patience. Catastrophe strikes in an ingeniously staged bison hunt and Keda discovers that he must find in himself a new courage and new self-reliance.
In this he has a boon companion: a lone wolf he names Alpha. After an aggressive meet, these two become best pals, teaming up against predators on a road trip to find themselves. Keda even signals his growing masculinity by cultivating a bit of a moustache. For those who think the story is too macho, Alpha has cute twist in its furry tail. It is a bit silly, but is likable hokum. I enjoyed the emotional scene when Keda carries the wounded Alpha in his arms at a crucial juncture. Comfort food, yes, but more edible than many another burnt offering.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Alpha review – howling good hokum pits boy and wolf against the world | Drama films