I've been a tad remiss with my reviewing duties of late so apologies for this tardy, and all too brief review of Red Dog. The Australian film opened last week and, after this weekend, should achieve the title of highest grossing Oz film of 2011. That's not surprising given the film, directed by Kriv Stenders, is a family-friendly piece of Australiana guaranteed to bring a smile to the face and a tear to the eye of almost all who see it.
Adapted from Louis de Bernieres's book, Red Dog is inspired by a local legend in north-west Western Australia involving the eponymous pooch who had no master but claimed the mining community of Dampier as his own in the 1970s. But with the arrival of American bus driver John (Josh Lucas), Red Dog found a master, and with the arrival of secretary Nancy (Rachael Taylor), the similarly peripatetic John found a reason to put down roots. That is until tragedy struck.
The story of Red Dog, John and Nancy is told in flashback by the Dampier locals (including publican Noah Taylor) to truck driver Thomas (Luke Ford), who arrives in town the night that Red Dog (as a result of poison) looks set to bid a permanent farewell to its residents .
What follows is an engaging, humourous and surprisingly moving tale of friendship and community, where the pleasant yet generic humans are upstaged by a dog (Koko) and the West Australian scenery, beautifully shot by Geoffrey Hall.