‘Alpha’ follows a teenager who, in his first hunt with the most elite group of his tribe, ends up injured and left for dead. When he awakens, he finds himself alone and must learn to survive in the harsh and implacable desert. Reluctantly manages to tame a lone wolf that has been abandoned by his herd. The two learn to collaborate, becoming allies to face countless dangers, with little chance of finding their way home, before the deadly winter arrives.
Albert Hughes, director of films like ‘Eli’s book,’ directs and produces a story created by himself, with actors such as Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson. With style more similar to that of Walt Disney, and with much imagination, recreates in ‘Alpha’ the first friendship of a human being with a wolf, which would generate the first dogs, that accompany the man until our days.
The most exciting thing about ‘Alpha’ is the recreation of the life of a European tribe 20,000 years ago. The harshness of the environment and the danger that was running at each moment are reflected. Maybe the characters look too modern, with different and current hairstyles. The story takes place in arid lands of great extensions, where a fearsome glacier winter arrives. The landscapes are extraordinary although you can see that there is a lot of digital retouching. Although the story is simple, it has a tremendous emotional charge, and it is original.
So far no one had recreated the life of 20,000 years ago. ‘Alpha’ takes place in a much earlier time and the recent ‘10,000 BC’ that does not recreate as accurately as life was 10,000 years ago. It can be said as critical to the script presented to a tribe with a fixed location, in which you have to travel a week to cross an arid land to find the game.
In this way, they would not have survived long. It is known that the tribes were nomads, moving where there was hunting, and there were no fixed sites until the invention of agriculture, some 8,000 years later. Anyway, the history without much historical rigour focuses on how it could have been the first friendly meeting between man and the wolf.
Although it has sequences of pure visual delight, the special effects are too dominant at the film’s peak moments, which takes away a lot of force: since what director wants to tell is the way in which man has adapted and acquired new skills and allies, it would have been fundamental to do it more naturally.
The movie starts strongly. We know the tribe, its customs and rituals. We see them fight, survive and die. When a bond between Keda and Alpha is established, that force intensifies. Alpha can be a bit boring due to its lack of dialogue, but in any case, it can be seen and will delight lovers of animals and especially dogs, those whom they call “man’s best friends” precisely because of the tie that they tightened millennia ago.
However it may scare younger children, it teaches us lessons about perseverance, companionship and the power of the survival instinct.