Log in Register
 
RSS Feed Twitter MySpace Facebook Digg Flickr Delicious YouTube
Red Dog
UKScreen Rating:

Red Dog – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

When truck driver Thomas (Luke Ford) arrives in the mining town of Dampier in Western Australia, the first thing on his mind after the long drive, like the true Australian that he is, is to get a pint.
The local pub appears to be empty, but he hears a commotion coming from a back-room behind the bar; all the locals are crowded around a red kelpie, as a vet rushes in to treat it.
The publican Jack (Noah Taylor) takes Thomas back to the bar, pours him a drink and tells him why the whole town is so worried about the health of a dog.
This isn’t just any dog – this is the Red Dog of legend.
Some years earlier, Red Dog was wild and searching for a home – in need of an owner. When he arrived in Dampier, all the miners tried to befriend him, to brighten up their own run-down lives, but the dog was interested in only one man – the local bus driver, John (Josh Lucas).
Over the years, Red Dog became every bit as much a part of the community as any of the men who worked the mine, but as much as he enjoyed the attention of the rest of the townsfolk, he was loyal only to John.
So when, one day, John failed to return home, Red Dog went off on his own, looking for him – hundreds of miles and several months later, the kelpie returned to Dampier to a heroes welcome.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

There’s no question that this film is heart-warming, heart-breaking and imbued with much of the light charm that is no stranger to Australian cinema.
After a series of darker films coming from the continent – such as Animal Kingdom, Wolf Creek, Snowtown and Sleeping Beauty – this is a welcome return to the quirky attitude to cinema down under.
The legendary story of the travels of Red Dog plays out, here, as a twee romance, which will be enjoyed by families and dog lovers, but it has little to offer grown-ups without children or anyone with more challenging demands.
The supporting characters are – down to the last one – stereotypes, from the hard man who’s softer deep down, to the irritatingly home-sick foreigner, the dog-hating camp-site manager and of course the town’s only single young woman (Rachael Taylor) who’s, luckily for the plot, both very cute and interested only in the protagonist, rather than her many other suitors.
The film effectively sets the tone for a mining town with nothing to recommend it apart from its quirky inhabitants, but ultimately, this amounts to a large part of the film being about not tremendously interesting or believable people doing not tremendously interesting or believable things.
With most of the story being narrated to the new arrival by the pub landlord, it means the film is told largely in flashback, and reduces the dramatic impact of the narrative.
And while Red Dog is being set up as some kind of a hero, he’s really just a dog who goes for a long walk on his own. Dogs miss their owners when they’re not around. Dogs go for walks.
The film’s big mistake is that in telling the legend of a dog that’s famed – apparently – for its epic solo journey around western Australian in search of its owner, this section of the story is reduced to a five minute montage of Red Dog walking along roads, superimposed Indiana-Jones-style over a map.
A film about Red Dog might have been more interesting and challenging had it centred on the dog’s journey, following it on its unlikely adventures, rather than spending most of its time concentrating on the people who loved it.

Opens nationwide 24 February 2012

Comments

comments

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Skip to toolbar