Based on Louis de Bernieres’ novel, ‘Red Dog’ became a big hit in 2011. The story of a cattle dog assisting residents in the Australian outback captured audiences’ imaginations. It also proved you could have a local genre hit for all ages instead of the usually over-praised and quickly forgotten dramas usually churned out. ‘Red Dog: True Blue’ is a prequel charting the canine’s origins. Maintaining the original’s appeal, it goes some way in showing the talent and creativity in Australian production.
Sent to live with his grandfather (Bryan Brown), 11 year old Mick (Levi Miller) thinks life will be dull. Arriving on a remote Western Australian cattle station, Mick braces for nothing much too happen on a grand scale. That’s before he meets a young red dog. Discovering an assortment of characters in the small town, the human and canine duo embark on a series of adventures changing Mick’s life forever.
‘Red Dog: True Blue’ is a typical coming of age story. We’ve seen it all before where a young teen discovers the ways of life and learns to mature. This alone should make ‘Red Dog: True Blue’ an insipidly dull yarn. Due to an abundance of genuine charm, stunning cinematography and solid acting, none of that materialises. Within its brisk 90 minutes is an assortment of relatable characters and situations. Investing in these plights is easy as Kriv Stenders’ direction moves the plot along at an amiably brisk pace.
Miller, Brown and the rest of the cast are excellent as is the talented doggie playing the title role. The script wisely doesn’t pander to young audiences and is one all can enjoy. The striking photography of the outback is superb, highlighting the harsh dangers and beauty the land brings. The unobtrusive music score aids in developing the emotional core driving the film. All come together in an engaging package becoming a worthy successor to the original movie.
Often moving, enchanting and enjoyable experience, ‘Red Dog: True Blue’ is worth seeing. Australian film and television has recently begun getting out of its dramatic rut and exploring new genre horizons. Hopefully this continues with productions like these effectively utilising the local landscape to tell different and exciting new stories.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.