By Theresia Titus
Set in Europe, Director Albert Hughes latest blockbuster Alpha dates back to 20,000 years ago, when hunting was still the main occupation of men.
The film brings to life the imagination of Hughes, telling a story of friendship between man and his furry friends.
The film opens with a group of men preparing themselves to attack a herd of bison, which they call “great beasts”.
Backtrack to a week before, Keda’s father, Tau – played by Icelandic actor, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Game of Thrones) – recruits his son Keda – played by Australian-born actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, into his hunting group of men who will go on an annual tribal bison hunting tradition by foot.
However, knowing Keda, his mother does not approve his departure, saying to his father that Keda is not ready to face the dangers of hunting as Keda leads with his heart and not his spear.
His father encourages him by saying, “prove you can lead, find your strength”, emphasising to Keda that he must be able to show that leadership is in his blood.
“To survive we must focus, be patient. We must not give up. Life is for the strong, it is earned, not given,” Tau says to Keda.
Tau also teaches Keda the meaning of leadership by using a pack of wolves as an example, saying an ‘Alpha’, the leader of the wolf-pack, must take care of his pack above all else.
An ‘Alpha’ needs to show strength, calm and no weakness, so his pack members will not challenge him.
One of the most critical points is that an ‘Alpha’ is not born but moulded, with the position earned by courage and heart.
In a turn of events, Keda must learn to lead himself and survive on his own, while also finding his way back to his family, a journey through which he gains a friendship.
The simple plot has successfully highlighted essential values relatable to the audience by emphasising and redefining what it means to lead, survive challenging life situations and ultimately understand the origins of friendship between canines and humans.
It is a predictable story with the right settings of scenic and authentic nature, well-constructed costumes and interesting character development, bringing the audience a light but meaningful piece of entertainment.
The film contains moments of intense peril. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.