ROK’s Flicks: Red Dog – True Blue

The opening setting is Perth 2011. A frazzled businessman Michael Carter (Jason Isaacs) is home with his sons Theo and
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The opening setting is Perth 2011. A frazzled businessman Michael Carter (Jason Isaacs) is home with his sons Theo and Nicholas for the evening while Mum Dianne (Justine Clarke) heads out. Dad reluctantly agrees to take them to see “some dog movie” they’ve been keen on. Guess what’s showing… the original Red Dog.

As the face of the now-famous kelpie fills the screen, tears well in the eyes of the tough dad as he realises Red Dog was once his very own dog.

Red Dog: True Blue
Red Dog: True Blue

The boys have been pleading for a puppy of their own, which Michael keeps rejecting, but when Theo asks about Dad’s reaction to the movie, the basis for his hesitancy is exposed in a bedtime story.

Now, scroll back in time to when dad Michael is 11-year-old Mick (Levi Miller). He’s been shipped off to live in “the outback” Pilbara with his farmer Grandpa (Bryan Brown) after his father dies and his mother suffers a nervous breakdown… ‘Who else was gonna take ya?’

Bryan Brown and Red Dog.
Bryan Brown and Red Dog.

After a particularly violent storm, Mick finds the dog as a pup, covered in blue mud and caught in a tree… hence his name. Isolated in the Pilbara, Blue is really Mick’s only friend.

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Mick learns about Aboriginal customs and land rights through indigenous farm-hand, Taylor Pete and the disappointment of romance through a crush on his young tutor, Betty. There is a humorous rivalry for her imagined affections between Mick and the Vietnam Vet helicopter pilot Bill. There’s a quirkiness to other characters on the farm: the Asian chef who always carries an umbrella, the frenzied black horse that thinks she’s a bull – since being struck by lightening… and of course Grandpa, who’s the tough salt-of-the-earth but lovingly tends a single orange tree!

Mick and Blue become inseparable, roving the property and its surroundings getting up to all sorts of fun — until its time for Mick to be packed off to boarding school. This is when Blue gets wanderlust!

The cinematography is gorgeous, the red dust, the red sunsets, the desolate outback scenery. But in the first film we followed a dog that had lost his master; in this “prequel” we follow the kid and the dog through all the typical adventures of an Aussie kids film of the 1950s — remember ‘Smiley’?

Unfortunately Red Dog:True Blue doesn’t quite get there.

ROK’S RATINGS: 3 glasses of bubbly

Have you seen Red Dog: True Blue? Is it the type of film you like?

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