In the prehistoric past, a young man struggles to return home after being separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt. He finds a similarly lost wolf companion, and starts a friendship that would change humanity.

Alpha’ is a tense survival thriller set 20,000 years ago in what we now know as Europe at the onset of the last Ice Age. The film follows a young hunter called Keda (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) who finds himself separated from his father and his tribe after an accident on a hunt that leaves him left seemingly for dead. With the help of an injured wolf, Keda sets off on an arduous journey to reconnect with his family amidst the worsening conditions.

The film is directed by Albert Hughes and it is a beautifully filmed adventure with an engaging lead performance from Smit-McPhee, who spends most of his screentime solely acting opposite an animal. The cinematography is breathtaking, taking in all of the vistas and showcasing the sparse landscape of a barely inhabited, still wild Europe, and the sense of danger and isolation that Keda faces is displayed well. The elements with the wolf (named ‘Alpha’ by Keda) are charmingly played as the two characters bond with one another, even as it feels like a clear contrast with the harsher elements of the storytelling.

Alpha’ is an expertly crafted action adventure that tells its story well without overstaying its welcome, and I really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Albert Hughes

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Natassia Malthe, Leonor Varela and Jens Hulten

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