Alpha: A glimpse into why the age-old bond between man and dog has stood the test of time

Published: July 27, 2017
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‘Man’s best friend’ is a pretty common expression that refers to the powerful relationship that we humans have shared with pet dogs for ages. The first recorded use of this phrase dates back to Frederick the Great of Prussia from the 18th century. Ever since then, it has become part of the general colloquialism. But have we ever wondered why we share such an intense bond with our canine buddies?

Worry not my friends, because we now have an upcoming movie that precisely aims to answer that very question. The From Hell and The Book of Eli famed Albert Hughes’s new historical drama, Alpha, just had its first trailer released on the internet and we get a glimpse into why this particular friendship has stood the test of time.

The movie which was formerly known as The Solutrean is set in the last ice age, 20,000 years ago, in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic period. Here we have a young caveman Zeta (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who on a hunting expedition with his tribe is left for dead after a cliff-fall following a bison stampede.

Fortunately for our protagonist, he survives the almost certain death-drop but awakens to find himself with a broken leg, miles away from his village. On his journey back home, through the harsh terrains, he finds himself an unlikely companion in a lone wolf that has been abandoned by its pack. The two of them together then embark on an epic trip where they develop their connection as allies while having to survive the unforgiving wilderness and some really nasty predators.

The trailer ends with the tagline,

“Witness the origin of the relationship that changed the world forever.”

Thus hinting at how this survival drama is much more than what its label states.

On initial viewing of the promo, the film bears an uncanny resemblance to Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 BC with the icy solitude of Alejandro G Iñárritu’s The Revenant thrown in for good measure. The two and a half minute trailer also indicates how the movie would refrain from too much verbosity and instead rely on the power of visual medium to drive the narrative forward. In fact, the whole experience would be all the more better if Alpha is completely dialogue free. For the sake of rationality, you simply cannot have the characters conversing in English, now can you?

One other factor that potentially makes this movie a breath of fresh air is the fact that in this day and age of remakes, reboots and sequels, Alpha is a unique standalone project. This helps the film not being influenced or getting bogged down by absurd level of expectations set by any predecessor.

McPhee, who starred in the X-Men franchise as Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, is joined by Leonor Varela, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson and Jens Hultén in important roles.

So if you have always been curious as to why we tend to have so much affection for dogs, you need to mark your calendars for March 2, 2018, when Alpha is set to hit the theatres.

All photos: Screenshots

Hassan Sardar

Hassan Sardar

The author is an aspiring filmmaker and a diehard Liverpool fan. He also teaches Screenwriting and Cinematography, and loves tattoos and flip-flops. He tweets as @CineSardar (twitter.com/CineSardar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.