Red Dog is based on the ‘legendary true story’ about an Australian red dog called, Red Dog. “He was a dog for everyone but no-one in particular”. Well no-one in particular until John (Josh Lucas) came to town. Red Dog decided that John would be his master. When John didn’t return one day, Red waited and waited for him before taking off on a long journey to find him.
Red Dog has a distinct Australian feel about it. From the iconic 70s Australian rock soundtrack, to its beautiful shots of the outback, which have you almost feeling the dryness and searing heat, and the extreme loneliness and isolation it’s residents feel, to the outfits (that can only be worn in Australia), to the wonderful cast, including the legend Bill Hunter in his final ever performance.
The script has also captured the essence of the Australian people, without having to use terms like ‘cobber’ and ‘fair dinkum’, and embraces the fact that Australia is a multicultural nation, with people coming from all walks of life and the world.
Red Dog is told in flashback form. It jumps from present to past seamlessly, with each miner sharing their special relationship with Red to the new guy in town, Thomas (played by Luke Ford). It can almost be said that he represents the audience watching the film.
Red Dog may sound like a mix between Lassie and Marley and Me, and in essence it may be, but it is not as sappy or ‘Hollywood’ as those films. Take the best bits of both those dogs, and the feelings people have towards them, and you are half way to seeing how special and loveable Red is.
If there is a complaint to be made about this film, it would be that it was a bit slow to start and the first half has a very different feel to it than the second half. This first half feels somewhat farcical, whereas the second half brings the emotion and the heart. You can’t help but be drawn into this legendary story of a much loved dog and its community.
I have never been moved by a dog (besides Uggie in The Artist) but I am not embarrassed to admit that Red had me crying. He will not only steal your heart but he will have it breaking for him too. Red Dog really is a dog for everyone!