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Alpha Male


Stars: Danny Huston, Jennifer Ehle, Patrick Baladi, Trudie Styler, Amelia Warner, Mark Wells

Director: Dan Wilde

Problems of the seriously rich. Alice (Ehle) and Jim (Huston) live on an estate the size of Dorneywood, thanks to a fortune made from plastic containers. They have two rather strange children (well acted by Katie Knight and Arthur Duncan), one of whom communes with foxes, and knows - but doesn't tell - that Dad has had an affair with Alice's sister Brede (Styler).

When Jim sickens and dies, Alice falls apart, the kids grow stranger, Brede comes to stay and Alice's liaison with a widower (Bodies' Baladi) completely estranges her from the children.

Nothing wrong with the acting here - Warner and Wells are both charismatic as the kids when older - and it's well-shot in warm colours. But the movie is terminally slow, bogged down by endless silences, people who don't respond when others talk to them, and such dialogual gems as 'You better clear up before we go to China'.

Alice compensates Brede for her help by giving her a cheque for a million pounds. Hey ho. Money may not buy happiness but, as Groucho Marx attested, it does help you enjoy being miserable.

For those who like to chronicle the return of smoking as a serious force in the cinema, lots of cigarettes are puffed in this one.

David Quinlan

USA/UK 2005. UK Distributor: Verve Pictures. Colour by Kodak.
100 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 07 Aug 2006