Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
Watch On
  1. 80
    In his best film to date, Nick Cassavetes directs with ferocious energy, taking scenes past their logical stopping points and pushing his actors (particularly Foster, who can be as terrifying as Edward Norton in "American History X") to, but never over, the precipice of absurdity.
  2. 75
    Alpha Dog isn't a happy movie, but it's dramatically solid and the impressions it leaves will not be easily shaken.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Don't be fooled by the presence of some pretty-boy actors: Alpha Dog is a gritty, gut-wrenching and disturbing film.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    Cassavetes' instincts are spot-on, particularly when it comes to casting Timberlake in what turns out to be the most important role in the film. He manages to be both reprehensible and deeply charismatic, and winds up stealing the picture.
  5. Around the midpoint Alpha Dog becomes less sociological and more personal, developing a real sense of suspense.
  6. Like "Rebel", directed by Nicholas Ray, this film excels at capturing the nervous posturing of adolescent boys marking their territory by pissing on each other's shoes.
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    70
    If nothing else, Alpha Dog's worth a look for the performance of Justin Timberlake, the moral center of a movie sorely in need of some conscience. Already a gifted comic actor--his Saturday Night Live appearances are now anticipated events--he proves himself able to go to a pitch-black place.
  8. The movie suffers from an uncertain structure, but it boasts an extraordinary naturalism, not particularly flattering. Sharon Stone has a brilliant, harsh turn as Zack's mom, and both Bruce Willis and Harry Dean Stanton have good turns as the elder generations of Trueloves. But the movie belongs to its youngsters, and it's a real eye-opener.
  9. Alpha Dog may well go down as the most dispiriting film of 2007.
  10. 63
    Justin Timberlake shows that he can do more as an actor than just take his shirt off - though he does that a lot as well - in the irresponsible, uncommercial but surprisingly watchable Alpha Dog.
  11. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    63
    At its best though, the film offers a pointed critique of a youth culture that views someone like Jesse James Hollywood as a person to emulate.
  12. There's more voyeurism going on here, and less insight into a certain culture (the young and the wasted), than the filmmakers would probably admit to, but the performances are scarily real, and the outcome, well, is just scary.
  13. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    60
    Writer-director Nick Cassavetes' sprawling dramatization recklessly blurs the line between reconstruction and reality in ways that are admittedly interesting, if more than a little artistically suspect.
  14. 60
    Your enjoyment of Alpha Dog may very well depend on how put off you are by these facts, as well as how much you buy Timberlake in his role, and how in the mood you are to sit through "River’s Edge" set in the "Entourage" universe.
  15. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    60
    It suffers from ADD, but there's some terrific stuff in here. Leaving 15 minutes from the end and saving yourself a lumbering coda may improve enjoyment.
  16. For all of the credibility of the performances (or at least the teens), it all feels like recycled social commentary.
  17. 58
    Had the film been more tempered in its textures, had Cassavetes chosen a surer attitude toward his subjects, it might have been devastating. As it stands, though, it's far more showy than substantial.
  18. 50
    Timberlake walks off with the movie. Too bad it's not worth stealing.
  19. Cassavetes throws in everything he can recycle to grab a core-demo viewer -- slutty teens making out, blaring rock music, guns, split screens.
  20. 50
    All the bright colors Cassavetes splashes on the canvas don't make Alpha Dog art.
  21. The cretins rule in Alpha Dog, which has much the same entertainment value you get from watching monkeys fling scat at one another in a zoo or reading the latest issue of Star magazine. Of course a little of that nasty stuff may land on you, but such are the perils of voyeurism.
  22. Apart from the grim forebodings of tragedy, writer-director Nick Cassavetes seems to have modeled this ambitious docudrama on Larry Clark's kiddie-porn shockers, but he doesn't know what to leave out, and the movie becomes excessively complicated with ancillary agendas.
  23. Who would have thought that a real-life tale of sex, drugs and murder could be so instantly forgettable?
  24. The whole thing is dizzying, like "Moulin Rouge" without songs and dances extolling love.
  25. 50
    As it escalates to a nasty conclusion, Alpha Dog doesn't have the moral or emotional weight of tragedy. These aren't the psychologically exploded youths of "Rebel Without a Cause," or even "The Outsiders." They're characters in a long, violent, unbleeped episode of MTV's "Cribs."
  26. 50
    It's another portrait of amoral, hedonistic youth gone awry, a la Larry Clark's "Bully", and it is alternately engrossing and ridiculous, often in the span of one scene to the next.
  27. It's a soggy drama said to be inspired by actual events – too serious to be trashy, too trashy to be serious.
  28. 40
    In a film with several over-the-top characters bordering on camp, Timberlake's Frankie is the only one who approaches three dimensions, adept at convincingly dishing out some of the movie's disturbing violence as well as registering subtle shifts in Frankie's allegiance.
  29. 40
    In this mess of a picture, Timberlake may be the rookie actor, but he's also the one to watch, the movie's North Star. The rest may as well be pinholes in a box.
  30. Its main feature is incessant, unimaginative profanity...Take out the cursing, and you're left with a plebeian drama about angry, aimless potheads, sloppily directed by the man who wrote it.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 34
  2. Negative: 12 out of 34
  1. Sep 25, 2011
    6
    The movie's cast is seriously spoiled. But despite these obstacles, "Alpha Dog" does a pretty good job maneuvering itself chronologically tillThe movie's cast is seriously spoiled. But despite these obstacles, "Alpha Dog" does a pretty good job maneuvering itself chronologically till the end. Full Review »
  2. May 4, 2015
    10
    n save for a few solid laughs. I laughed, a LOT - far more than I expected to. With all of the cookie cutter schlock that has "something forn save for a few solid laughs. I laughed, a LOT - far more than I expected to. With all of the cookie cutter schlock that has "something for everyone" box office appeal these days, my standards have become ridiculously low for comedies. This raised them right back up there, kinda like the original Hangover did. Cameron Diaz's Teacher is as fun as Billy Bob's Santa was. Hollywood should embrace the Full Review »
  3. Mar 12, 2013
    7
    This movie shows the real face of the most American people. I liked it, because it has a unpredictable story. It's great to watch withThis movie shows the real face of the most American people. I liked it, because it has a unpredictable story. It's great to watch with friends. So i recommend it with my final score 7/10 Full Review »