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Red Dog

Red Dog: Touching, Feel-Good Family Film

  • Josh LucasNoah Taylor...
  • ComedyDrama...
  • Out now
  • Kriv Stenders
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Red Dog: Touching, Feel-Good Family Film

Red Dog is a film about, duh,
a dog. However, Red Dog is not like any other dog; he’s smart, loyal and
knows how to hitchhike halfway across Australia. Based on a true
story, this film tells the story of Red Dog’s life ever since he hitchhiked to
a mining village in the middle of nowhere. The miners adopt Red Dog and treat
him as a collective pet due to his refusal to choose a master; that is, until a
bus driver by the name of John Grant (Lucas) shows up.

The film opens up with a random stranger’s arrival at the village pub,
where Red Dog is dying from accidental poisoning. The miners are all gathered
at the pub and highly anxious about the dog’s welfare. They take it in turns to
tell the stranger Red Dog’s story, about how he came into their lives and
brought everyone together, turning the disparate settlers in the region into a
proper community. The film is told almost entirely in flashbacks and relies
heavily on voiceover narration.

The film really is about the dog. The humans are just there to flesh out
its story and not only was it riveting; it was also thoroughly charming. We
follow Red Dog around as he interacts with the various miners until he meets
John. We see how John and Red Dog’s relationship progresses until they become
inseparable. The film soon takes a turn for the heartbreaking when John
suddenly dies. The effect of his death on Red Dog is what turns the dog into a
real-life legend famed for his love, grief and loyalty. Despite the
heartbreaking turn at the end, the film takes on a celebratory tone acting as a
commemoration of this extraordinary dog that brought the town together.

If you’re into bluesy hard rock, you’ll absolutely love the film’s soundtrack.
It fits perfectly with the seventies setting and combined with the stunning
shots of the desert and dunes, it really is gorgeously atmospheric. This, in
addition to the miners’ stories that range from cute to wretched, elevate this
film from your regular family drama into something that would appeal to people
of all ages, rather like a live action Pixar film. It’s heart-warming, uplifting
and charming.

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360 Tip

The townspeople erected a statue of Red Dog on the road to Dampier, the mining town, after his death and it was this statue that inspired author Louis de Bernieres to write Red Dog’s story on which this film was based.

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