“He leads with his heart, not his spear”. Alpha- the leader of a wolf pack, the elite, and conveniently the title of the 2018 film independently directed by Albert Hughes and written Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt. This equally eye catching and thought provoking story, set in tribal times, schools the audience on a lesson of challenging nature’s ways.
The main character of the film, Keda, who also happens to be the chief’s son, is coming of age and must now join the rest of the men in their skillful summer buffalo hunting. Keda’s mother, however, fears he cannot overcome the emotional burden of slaughter and may result in exposing himself to greater danger. Indeed, mother knows best. After a teasing cliffhanger- literally Keda hangs off the ledge of a cliff stranded for days after being presumed dead- the young man awakes to the ache of his leg and must adapt to survive the journey home.
Keda meets a separated Alpha wolf, who uncoincidentally also possesses a leg injury, and the two foster unity amidst their common weakness in the face of nature. Although the young boy was previously taught to all kill predators, Keda is set to challenge not only his tribe’s ways, but also what nature wrote for his partner as well.
Although the cast choices did not have much indigenous representation, the film featured not a single English word, emphasizing the importance and passion of tribal dialects. the vivid graphic sceneries and traditional hues of life, the filmmakers gifted the audience with a brilliant exposure inside the lives of the indigenous peoples.
The film presents a reassuring and motivating message that humans and animals alike possess the power to curb any instinctual behaviors or flaws they carry into the world. There is power in that- power in knowing that we already own the tools to overcome, or rather over-learn, our stagnation. A heart opening work of art, Alpha philosophically elevates a timeless tale of man discovering his best friend.