‘Based on the legendary true story of the Red Dog who united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long-lost master.‘
Have you ever sat around a campfire swapping stories? Told a few tall tales at the pub? Even as you’re listening you know that the stories have grown with every retelling, but you don’t really care as long as they’re told well. Red Dog is a movie that captures this experience and takes us back to the 70’s to hear about the legend of Red Dog, a clever canine that captured the hearts and minds of the people of the Pilbara.
Thomas (Luke Ford) arrives at the little mining town of Dampier where he finds the townsfolk gathered around an ailing red dog, standing vigil. Why is everyone so sad? Why is this dog so important? With a little prompting the townsfolk are happy to tell him; and so we’re taken back in time to hear the first of many tales of Red Dog.
The short story nature of the film makes it feel a little disjointed at times, but it really captures the feeling of hearing these stories first hand, as if we are sitting in the pub with the memories of the people of Dampier. The brief lapses into the present in between stories never quite work, but they are merely there to move us from one story to the next.
This is a family feel-good movie, and it’s not ashamed of it. It takes us through the good times and the bad, pulling the emotional heartstrings when it needs to, and captures a little slice of life in remote Australia in the 70’s. I must admit that I got a little teary during the sadder parts of the story, a sure sign that the movie has done its job.
Each of the characters starts out fairly thin, but we get to know them more and more with each flashback. While I wouldn’t say that they end up as deeply fleshed out characters by the end of the film, they don’t really need to be. Red Dog is the star of the show here. The camera work on Red Dog is great, and really conveys what Red Dog is supposed to be thinking; the sad face on an older Red Dog is a perfect example of this (you’ll know what I mean when you watch it).
The other star of the movie is the landscape. The sense of scale and desolation really helps convey the subtext of the film, which is all about communities coming together in a common cause, helping out your neighbour when he needs it. The people of this town are a family, Red Dog belongs to all of them and they’re happy to share.
Overall, Red Dog is an enjoyable feel good film. It won’t blow your mind with a convoluted story or complex characters, but that’s not the purpose of this sort of film. This is a movie you can enjoy with the whole family, something that will bring a smile to everyone’s faces and remind them about the good things in life. There are far worse ways to spend 90 minutes.
What I Liked – Pulled the emotional heartstrings. Great scenery. Good camera work on Red Dog to convey emotion.
What I Didn’t Like – Relied on montages too much. Present day storyline seemed forced.
Rating – 3.5 out of 5 (Enjoyable)