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Alpha

Kodi Smit-McPhee is Keda, a young man who is next in line to become the chief of his tribe. His father has been pushing him to success, but Keda is not really a hunter. One day, Keda and his father go out with the other males from the tribe in what will be his initiation as a successful hunter. While rounding up a herd of bison, Keda finds himself separated from the others and facing a charging bison. The bison ejects Keda over the cliff, and his father believes him to be dead. After befriending a wolf who was abandoned by his pack, the two of them set off on a journey back to Keda’s home. Smit-McPhee, who starred as the boy off on a different journey with his father in “The Road”, is excellent here; there is not a lot of dialogue, but he relies on body language and facial expressions to communicate his story to the audience. The cinematography is beautiful, and the writing is taut with enough suspense to keep it moving at a good pace during its short 97 minutes. Thumbs up for a film that has a lot to say about the importance of emotional prowess as equal to physical prowess. This is a film that I think most kids 8 or 9 years and older would really love for its suspense, survival story and the relationship between Keda and the wolf. My older teenage son and younger teenage daughter both loved the film.

About Gary Burkholder

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