Film Review – Red Dog

Red Dog (PG)

Directed by: Kriv Stenders

Starring: Josh Lucas, Koko, Rachael Taylor, Noah Taylor, Luke Ford

Four stars

Review by: Julian Wright

If recent critically acclaimed Aussie films such as Snowtown and Animal Kingdom left you clutching a bottle of anti-depressants, the uplifting tale of Red Dog may inspire you to put it back in the medicine cabinet. However, be warned, you may need to clutch a box of tissues instead.

While powerful pieces of film-making that have restored critics’ faith in Australian cinema, those hard-hitting dramas can be a bit much to take after a while. They dwell on  murder, torture, crime and general unpleasantness. Need a break from all that? Feel like a bit of a chuckle?

Red Dog comes at the perfect time. It is a breath of fresh air with its whimsical attitude and heart warming story and takes us out of the monotonous suburbs and off  to the Australian outback.

Red Dog opens with the heart melting canine dying in the bar of a remote town in WA’s north-west. The towns people gather around to comfort the pooch in his final moments. When truck driver Thomas (Luke Ford) stops by, Red Dog’s human friends fill him in on the canine’s eventful last 10 years.

After he hitchhikes a ride into Dampier, a mining town, Red Dog is adopted by the residents and rough and tumble workers. At first bus driver John (Josh Lucas) does not fall for his charms like everyone else, but the two eventually develop a bond and John becomes Red Dog’s master.

The film follows Red Dog’s journey and many adventures as he saves one man from a shark attack and has multiple run ins with a bad-tempered cat. One devastating development prompts the nomadic dog to take a car, train and plane trip around WA . He even makes a pit stop in Japan.

Along the way there are tears, laughter, highs and lows and it is a ride Aussies should take. Kriv Stenders has done a 180 degree turn with his directing style. This is the polar opposite of his bleak slow burn drama Lucky Country. Red Dog moves along at an enjoyably brisk pace that takes in the beautiful scenery of the Pilbara region. This is a gentle and infectious family film that will tug on the heart-strings, but not too hard. Still, keep the tissues handy.

One Response to “Film Review – Red Dog”

  1. Why does the Polish “SKI” team / workers speak Russian in the movie?

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