Alpha Dog

Movie review by Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Alpha Dog Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 18+

Timberlake stars in fact-based drug drama.

R 2007 117 minutes

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 16+

Based on 12 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

I think it's a decent film, but nothing else

I saw this film for the first time last year and there are some good things and bad things about it. The good stuff was that it was very faithful to the real life horrific crime that actually happened (this is based off a real murder that happened to a real 15 year old) and Justin Timberlake and late actor Anton Yelchin did give good performances. The bad stuff was the over excessive 367 F words, generic soundtrack, and the characters. UGH, I hated every single character except for Zack in this film. The main protagonist is this immature bratty/selfish murdering drug dealer played by Emile Hirsch that doesn't care about anyone or anything but himself, is even willing to hurt or ruin just about anyone that does not give him what he wants and even betray any of his friends (not that his friends are any better either) in order to save his skin as soon as he gets busted for the murder that he just ordered on a kid. Other than that, it's a 7/10 for me

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 14+


Awesome movie. Too much swearing? Too much use of the F-word? Too much use of explicit terms involving sexual acts, homosexuality, racism, etc? I don't have a problem with it as long as I feel that the movie accurately depicts how the characters would actually talk and act in that environment. The movie is very accurate. It is also very accurate in its depiction of the lifestyle of many young people on the fringes of a world that they like to pretend they are a part of. A world that disgusts and scares the hell out of most of them when they actually encounter it. A lot of young people see glimpses of this world in video games, movies, music videos, etc. It's depicted as glamorous and exciting; with nothing but nonstop partying, money and fun. What a lot of these glimpses don't show is that even in the small-time world of people like Johnny and his group of wannabes, they will all f*** you over in a heartbeat when they feel threatened in any way. Alpha Dog portrays this very accurately. Do I believe that Alpha Dog is too raw for young people to view? Not if they are able to understand the message. In our modern world, young people are exposed to the language, violence and sexuality portrayed in Alpha Dog every day, in many different ways. It's usually presented to them in a glamorous way. Alpha Dog shows these people to be what most of them really are. Selfish people who will present themselves to be your 'friends' until they feel any type of threat to themselves. At which point, anyone and everyone else becomes expendable. I believe this message is worth getting through to young people. Removing the parts that many people seem to find objectionable will also be removing much of the authenticity and, in the end, the believability. I applaud the makers of Alpha Dog for the authenticity. Right to the very end. When even Frankie, who is portrayed as maybe not belonging in this world, was willing to sacrifice an innocent young life to save his own as*. Kids need to understand that most of the people involved in this world will do the same.

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