REVIEW: 'Red Dog'

REVIEW: 'Red Dog'

REVIEW: 'Red Dog', Flicks.co.nz

2 stars

Australian family film loosely based on the real 'Red Dog', a Kelpie/Cattle cross who famously traveled around the small towns of Western Australia, befriending the locals, in search of his long lost master. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.

The mantra that you shouldn’t work with animals or children holds true in Red Dog, a film with as much iconic outback imagery and substance as a very long beer ad.

Loosely based on a true story, this family film follows the lives of a township of lonely miners in the 1970s and the four-legged friend who brought them joy. It’s a warm fuzzies film that takes many storytelling risks, few of which pay off. Occasionally it captures the spirit of the times and the charm of a good old fashioned yarn but too little rings true to leave a lasting impression.

For starters, there’s the romance between Josh Lucas’ John and Rachael Taylor’s Nancy, who are both so good looking you can’t help but wonder why they didn’t end up in Sydney. An under-utilised Keisha Castle-Hughes also features in a romance that falls more on the comedy side of the coin.

Through the dog, (a cartoonishly expressive performance from the clever Koko) the film manages to capture the arid beauty of the Australian outback, the harsh working conditions of the miners and the tightknit community of Dampier. But things soon descend into silliness, with umpteen montages of tough-living and a plot with as many lurches as a jeep negotiating potholes. Red Dog strives for a similar levity as Aussie working-class classic The Castle but comes off as, well, a bit of a dog.

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