Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), an incendiary Jew who decorates his pad with Nazi tchotchkes, is in debt to Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), a sociopathically detached drug-dealing youngster for whom crime is the family business.
Tweaky Jake butts heads with Olivia (Sharon Stone), his stepmother. His brother, Zach (Anton Yelchin), 15 and feeling smothered, is kidnapped by Truelove's lackeys. Zach plays along, but things don't go well.
Based on true events in late-'90s Southern California (Jesse James Hollywood, the fugitive Truelove's character is based on, was caught in late 2005), there is a chain of command within Truelove's circle. It's more puffed-up high school clique than legit gangster posse. Truelove has his brains, his brawn and his guard dogs to do his dirty work for him. Justin Timberlake shines as Frankie, Truelove's right-hand man.
Aside from an excess of female hysterics, there is solid acting throughout. (Accused of tweaking at work, Foster's Jake pulls off a tantrum on the level of Spud's job interview in Trainspotting.)A gaggle of witnesses and the threat of a life sentence compel Truelove to order the unthinkable, while his family (played by Bruce Willis and Harry Dean Stanton) tells him to call it all off. Compelling and depressing, Alpha Dog proves that teenagers can not only be brainless, but ruthless as well.
© Skylaire Alfvegren written for and published by E! Online