Red Dog (2011) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
84 Reviews
Sort by:
Great Picture....needs to be in theatres soon !
aligon-26 April 2011
I skipped "Red Dog" in Berlin... I don't like "dog" pictures...


Fortunately, I had a chance to see it at Vail Film Festival, where it ran away with the "Audience Favorite" and it blew me away... it is a completely endearing tale of an isolated mining town in the far northwest of Australia, the bizarre characters that wash up there, and the unstoppable human drive to create community wherever we gather. And yes, the dog that inspires them to focus on what matters in themselves and in life. The characters, and in this town, everybody is one or they wouldn't BE there, are original, surprising, and compelling. And the landscape that holds them is truly other-worldy.

There is not one sappy minute in this film... but many genuinely hilarious ones, and quite a few touching ones. In it's emotional impact, it somehow reminds me of "the Blind Side", in all the best ways. Between the cineplex, on demand, and 2-3 film festivals, I see roughly 150-200 films a year. This is easily among the 2-3 best I've seen this year...some distributor is going to hit a home-run with this one.
77 out of 96 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
this movie is amazing
sarah-eva12 May 2011
i was lucky enough to see this last year in Melbourne for a exclusive viewing, then i got to comment on what i thought of it. This movie is amazing. it is now my favorite movie. Now i know that people will be like... whatever. but i joined this website and took the time to let as many people as i can know that this movie is by far the greatest Australian movie ever. It makes so laugh and cry. It makes you fall absolutely in love with red dog and really appreciate the companionship of animals. I have nothing bad to say about this movie. I really suggest everyone goes to see this in the cinema. I have already planned to see it another two times. 10/10
64 out of 85 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Loved it!
Teak Parsons2 October 2011
I am a dog lover and just absolutely loved this movie. It made me laugh and it made it me cry (a lot). I was literally sobbing in one section.

Overall, it is just a lovely simple story that has a heart. The fact that it's based on true events makes it all the more powerful.

While the story centred on characters, what I love is that someone the actors don't overshadow the dog - he is the star and remains the star throughout the movie. I think seeing a movie, almost through a dog's eyes, makes this even more special.

Was is it a perfectly scripted and acted movie? Perhaps, not but all I know was that I was entertained from the minute it started to the minute it ended and I walked away feeling touched. Sometimes, that's all a movie should do.

I think everyone can take something from this movie.

I'll be sure to watch this again on DVD, it really does touch you.
36 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A True Aussie Classic
John McCulloch20 August 2011
A beautiful film shot in one of Australia's most iconic locations that reconstructs a true tale of an Australian larrikan in the manner that these stories are meant to be told, serious, but with a nudge & a wink. It was refreshing that the Director (Kriv Stenders) & the human actors never tried to upstage the true star of the movie Red Dog (Koko), letting him become the focus of the story.

It is important that Australian cinema continues to look at the 1,000's of little stories that make us what we are, the stories of towns & people that are often overlooked in our desire to be recognized overseas. Movies like Red Dog are a window to our soul.

Also, an Australian film without the painful slow pace & without the obligatory close up shot of something totally unrelated to the movie ... refreshing!
45 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Absolutely Do See List!
jacquiehapp0827 May 2011
I saw this movie 25 May 2011 as part of Cinefestoz in Busselton, Western Australia and it is AWESOME! It has to be one of the best family movies that I have seen - and as far as animal movies - tops. Yes, digitalized graphics for a few sections but no, the dog doesn't talk, he doesn't dance and he doesn't do anything that a dog shouldn't do. Koko the dog has expressions that would make some actors look wooden. He steals your heart. The landscapes of the northwest show the expanse of the area, whilst capturing the spirit of the 'settlers' of Dampier, which is a real town. It's a wild country and the stubby shorts the blokes are wearing are so 1970's I wonder where they got them all. Josh Lucas is oh so gorgeous, and so is Rachel Taylor, and the 'real characters' maybe cliché, but you know what, it doesn't matter because it makes the movie even more real and enjoyable.

We laughed, we cried, we laughed, we cried and were moved by a story that crosses time and age and is based on a true story. Thank you for bringing it to us.
54 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A True Blue Aussie Hero
bqse0698710 August 2011
I was lucky enough to see this movie in Western Australia.....the home of Red Dog. More than that, my West Australian wife grew up in Dampier and remembers a period of four or five days, where Red Dog decided to grace her family home with his presence...enjoying the steak dinners provided by my Father in Law. He then decided it was time to go, and moved on to another family. This is only one account of Red Dog, his story legendary, but no less true for that! This movie is a very uplifting true story, not only of Red Dog, but of a small community living on the 'frontier.' In an extremely harsh environment, Red Dog brought the community together. The movie conveys very well what it was like to live in Dampier in the '70s. The movie has some very sad and moving episodes, but also some real 'laugh out loud' moments. In the end, rather than feeling sad, I felt it was a celebration of a very special animal. The movie was so good, I ALMOST awarded a score of 10/10...pity I can't award 9.5/10.
36 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Movie With Heart About A Dog With Soul
renee-844-4176221 August 2011
Everyone will want – but no one can have – Red Dog. It's one of the most beautiful things about him. And that kind of exclusivity is priceless.

This is the Australian Cattle dog that makes Lassie look lame and Rin Tin Tin look like an obedient idiot.

That's because Red Dog is a dog for the soul.

A new movie called Red Dog is the true story of a wandering pooch that brought people together and joy to a community. He exhibited ferocious, inspiring independence and fearless loyalty to freedom. This dog made Che Guevara look like he didn't give it his best shot.

He had the best qualities of every living creature while still sticking it to the man. No one owned Red Dog – until he met a man and gave himself to that one man.

In real life, all this took place in North West Western Australia at a town called Dampier during the 1970s. There's even a statue erected in honour of Red Dog who had a reputation for sniffing out a party 600 kms away and turning up. He seduced and intimidated people into giving him free rides all over the country and, as legend has it, hitched a ride on a tanker to Japan for a spell too.

This dog was so clever, he even sorted free veterinarian care for himself – kind of like scamming a fake medicare card.

I laughed a lot during the movie and cried 3 times. And after seeing the sale of spotty puppies go up after 101 Dalmatians and the sale of Clown fish go up after Finding Nemo, I expect the demand for Australian cattle dogs to go up too. But I hope it doesn't because they are working dogs, not city dogs and apartment living would be like a prison for these very active and intelligent canines.

The film is out August 4 and stars Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Noah Taylor along with one of the last performances by Bill Hunter. But the most kudos has to go to director Kriv Stenders (Lucky Country, Boxing Day, The Illustrated Family Doctor) for shooting a beautiful film in a stunning location while keeping the story elevated to the mythic status Red Dog attained.

Koko is the name of the real dog who plays Red Dog – you can see his audition tape with Kriv at the end of this review. And producer Nelson Woss was so taken with Koko, he adopted him. There's a wonderful tradition of this in cinema. Johnny Depp adopted a one-eyed horse after a shoot when he learned the horse was going to be put down. And Viggo Mortensen kept the horse he worked with in Hidalgo.

The Australian Cattle dog has been a bit of movie star for a while now. One worked with Mel Gibson in Mad Max, Johnny Depp co-starred with another in Secret Window, Billy Connolly paired up with one in The Man Who Sued God and Russell Crowe shared the screen with one in The Silver Stallion. A few had lesser roles in movies such as Babe and Brokeback Mountain.

Famous people who have owned Aussie Cattle dogs include Owen Wilson, Kelly McGillis and Matthew McConaughey.

And for truly extraordinary stories of Australian Cattle dogs pulling off miraculous feats – look up Sophie in Queensland. She swam 5kms through shark-infested waters then lived alone on an island for 5 months before being rescued and re-united with her family. Another one called Ben in South Australia became the primary witness in solving the murder of his owners – neighbours reported that the dog didn't bark at all that day - alerting police to the fact that the killer was known to the victims and to the dog.

But back to the movie. I won't say too much other than – go see it. We haven't had a film like this in Australia for some time. You'll want to see it again. And I reckon the world will go nuts for the movie, nuts for Australian cattle dogs and nuts for touring the Pilbara.

The soundtrack rocks too with lots of good ol' Aussie 70s classics.

Red Dog is a movie with heart starring a dog that's good for your soul.

** I'm co-hosting the episode of Movie Juice with Koko – the star of Red Dog – which screens Monday August 8 at 6pm on Starpics channel 415 and 8pm on Starpics 2.
31 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Nutshell Review: Red Dog
DICK STEEL19 September 2011
Today's GV surprise screening wasn't what I had expected, and I mean that in a good way. At first I thought it was going to be one of those rom-coms slated for screening later this month or year, but what got put out was way, way better than expected, even though it started a little slow and bewildering (unlike most other surprise screenings where one can guess what it will be), Red Dog was more than worth the price of the discounted ticket, an Australian film set in the 70s Western Australia in a small mining town based upon a folklore that surpasses almost every conventional dog related cinematic tale put out especially by Hollywood in recent years.

A trucker drives into town and pit stops at a bar, only to find a couple of burly men pining a dog down, with the sheriff about to pull the trigger, but for the trucker's intervention to put off their plan. Slowly but surely for any stranger riding into a new land, the townsfolk soon grow in numbers, as everyone started to pour in to the bar to seemingly pay tribute to the dog, christened Red Dog by everyone, with the narrative unveiling itself in episodic flashback nature with characters taking turns to tell their version and stories of how the dog impacted their lives and the lives of the mining town, and how the town got changed through their canine friend. These stories span a spectrum of emotions, and can be a simple, short scene, or an extended one especially when involving the principal characters of the film

Directed by Kriv Stenders, the film has its fair share of quirky characters and comedic situations, being funny without really trying too hard, go over the top or feeling too contrived. Everything felt as natural as can be, with excellent pacing to allow Red Dog to slowly grow on you. The tried, tested and tired route Hollywood typically takes is to load plenty of saccharine sweet, cutesy moments to deliberate tug at your heartstrings, which is why this Australian film is that fantastic breath of fresh air as it busts genre conventions, yet possessing enough pathos to lift the film into its emotional plateau, pulling you into the rowdy though genuinely sincere lifestyle the miners lead.

As for star power, Josh Lucas stars as the wanderer turned bus driver John who becomes the one and only de-facto owner of Red Dog as they form a loyal master-dog relationship, with Rachael Taylor (of Transformers fame) playing Nancy his love interest whom he met while serving the community, and she getting into a tussle with Red Dog on his bus. Their romance will form the crux which the story will revolve around briefly, although there are other stories which I enjoyed such as how Red Dog got into assisting an Italian miner Vanno (Arthur Angel) go after a nurse (Keisha Castle-Hughes), and a heart-wrenching moment involving the themes of loyalty and longing.

With an awesome soundtrack and beautifully filmed landscapes that captures the conditions of the mining town in very picturesque language, you'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll be moved by the time the movie pulls into its final reel. Now all that remains is for this film to find a proper theatrical release so that it can be watched, experienced and loved by a wider audience that it truly deserves. There may be famous dogs like Lassie in the US and Hachiko in Japan, so do add one to that list with Red Dog from Australia. Definitely in my highly recommended list as it goes into my books with the potential of being one of the best seen in this year, leaving its genre peers clearly in its wake.
27 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stick to the true story
rebecca-ry6 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
'Red Dog' is a film based on a collection of outstanding tales from real people about a real dog in Australia, the thing that caused the book to be so successful around the world was that it was about how one dog was adored by the entire town and everyone had an individual tale to tell about Red Dog.

This film nearly stamps out all realism. The film was already bound to do better in Australia than in any other country simply because it is based there but the makers have obviously tried too hard to please global audiences and it simply has not worked. It is a pretty good film apart from the parts where people have decided it needed more sentiment. Aspects like the love story between John and Nancy, and Red Dog dying next to John's grave is completely made up and makes the film too similar to many other films. In other words, the addition of these parts removes any unique qualities this story had.

Aside from this, the acting is good mostly, some actors let it down a little but it doesn't have a bad effect on the film. The dialogue between characters is very good and provides a lot of comedy in the film. The soundtrack works really well with the film's content and some shots of the Australian landscape are outstanding.

Overall, this film was a bit of a disappointment. The story was cluttered with too much cliché's and common Hollywood-type story lines when it simply did not need it.
14 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Bring your hankies!
princess_lush22 May 2011
I was lucky to see this film at the Australian Film Festival at the Barbican in London. It sounded like a heart wrencher - and it was! OK, so the performances can tend towards the clichéd or perhaps wooden and the story is a little slow in spots BUT I loved it. A really touching film, shot beautifully with some great Aussie scenery! A world that few get to experience. And Koko is amazing as Red Dog! I haven't read Louis de Bernieres story that is based on, or even heard of the "folk tale" that the movie is based on, but the story is compelling. Oh, and some great Aussie music forms the soundtrack. And of course a bit of crazy Aussie dancing (and fashion) that goes along with it!
12 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Red Dag
misterbongo16 August 2012
I wanted to like this. I really did. It felt un-Australian to not like this. I felt like a cinematic Grinch.

Aussie films have been on a hiding to nothing for awhile. We've had a fairly constant diet of bleak, sad little stories lately, so it was good to see something that looked colourful and heartwarming. But I struggled to get into this. It felt like a big, jokey beer commercial. It felt so stagey and contrived, like everyone was trying to talk like John Mellion and "out-Aussie" each other. Like a lot of Australian films, it seemed to struggle to understand what it wanted to be. It wasn't played straight enough to have gravitas like classic dog films such as Lassie. It wasn't quirky enough to be comedically sweet like the wonderfully perky Amelie.

It felt like a cute kid that starts to love the attention, becomes really annoying and then won't shut up.
15 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Red Dog. Loyal Dog, Heart-felt film.
alanrthompson10 August 2011
I was a bit weary of seeing Red Dog as I'm not always a fan of Australian movies. However I was asked to go and I never turn down a chance to go to the cinema's. I really enjoyed Red Dog. It had quite a lot of good humour, with it's fair share of terrible jokes. There was a lot of emotion packed into the film, that almost felt a bit rushed at bits. It would take you to one end of the spectrum to the other without so much as a warning. Although the film was enjoyable I feel like it is a film that would only appeal to Australian's as there was a lot of slang and jokes that only Aussie's would get, but I could be wrong. Overall I gave it an 8 out of 10 purely because Red Dog is just an awesome character! Go and give Red Dog a go, you just might enjoy it!
15 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Cute dog, but average movie
dazzrock30 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm as patriotic as the next Aussie and went along to Red dog expecting big things. Sure the dogs cute but the 'Aussie bush characters' are about as far fetched and unbelievable as you can get. Overacting, unauthentic, non believable characters abound throughout the movie. Having an American written in as the 'lead character' smarts as a ploy to grab the lucrative American Audience. Why else would this appear in the storyline. There was no context for it at all. The scenery of the Western Australian outback was really nice, but it didn't make up for the lack of a real plot or an explanation about why everyone who ever saw the dog wanted to own it and take it home. Rumours of a Red dog two are surfacing....surely not, let dead dogs lie
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
not great
steven4 December 2011
I thought I was in for the next great Australian movie. The movie looks fantastic, amazing cinematography, some decent character acting, but the story just doesn't draw you in. The dialogue has no wit, nothing, it's just awful. The photography kept me watching until about halfway, when I just got too bored. It's really hard to fathom the rave reviews. There was a scene, some guy gets on a table and makes a speech to a crowd, someone asks him "how's the weather up there?" and the crowd all laugh. That's the kind of wit you can expect in this movie.

Check "Restraint" from 2008 or "The Loved Ones" from 2009 for better examples of Aussie films.
13 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Poor script - could have been so much more
sirfire9 July 2012
Watched "Red Dog" after all the fuss about it ....

At first why do they need an American star for this movie? Doesn't Australia have a decent "rising star" hopefully not from Neighbors and Home and Away? This had a great opportunity to talk about a folk legend "Pilbara Wanderer" who made his name hitching a ride to wherever they went. Instead of telling a heart felt story it really showed the bogan miners (in the real world these guys work their guts out back in the 70's) with bogan cowboy fights and silly sideline stories.

Why do we need to do a tourism sell every time we make an Australian movie? And if they took out every Australian song for the last 30 years it would have been better. Seriously when they need to spend 40% of the movie on images and music you know its missing a decent script writer. Nice story about a wonderful life of a dog in WA mining town without too much thinking .....unfortunately they could have done so much more.
11 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
UK Release
zsydenie27 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Yesterday I went to see the UK Release of "Red Dog". The film is a travesty. What it has done for reality, Dampier and "Red Tally", the original "Pilbara Wanderer" is akin to doing a film about Sydney, and portraying the "Opera House" as a portakabin on Coogee beach. This film is an insult to all of Dampier; especially those who had close ties to "Red Tally" in the 70s. I'm surprised the film-producers didn't portray "Red Dog" as a Budgie; they got everything else so wrong they may just as well have gone the whole hog. Three words best describe this film – CR%A~P, C~RA#P AND UTTER C#RAP – Yes that is five words but not to the morons who produced this rubbish. Attempting to convert a factual story into a Comic Western didn't work; only a Brain-Dead disease, or should I say a team of them, thought it might. Well fellas it didn't work – might-be best if you never ever make another film.

Stan Divis - Dampier resident 1974 and 1975.
11 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An Embarrassment to Australia
imoriginal22 November 2011
This movie is terrible. It is a perfect example of why Australia is not a larger part of the movie industry, we are making movies for Americans.

The entire movie is filled with stupid stereotypes which make Australians look like a bunch of idiots. One of the characters is a tough guy who enjoys knitting, honestly could you come up with a more bottom the barrel joke than that! The whole movie is tailor made for American audiences. The lead character is an American so that the Americans have someone to relate to and understand. All the Australians have over the top accents and have the obvious "outback blokes" personality, sure there are Australians like this but not everyone is! I wish that the Australian movie makers would try to make something original so that our industry could be taken seriously instead of making movies for Americans. I'm not saying all Australian filmmakers are like this but most of the popular one are.

Finally, the actual movie is not good. The story is obvious and stupid and the jokes are corny.

Please Australia, can we try to make some movies for ourselves.
24 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A film for children up to 10 y.o.
gabestoian22 April 2013
I looked forward to watching this film.. but I was disappointed by it on so many levels.. I just couldn't get into it.. The anamorphic screen looked good for the landscapes but not for the close up shots; the music and the sweeping pans were too glorious at the expense of the subject matter. The bloody constant crane sweeps.. It looked like an interminable beer ad - as another reviewer rightly put it. Except for some scenes, the acting was unbelievable.. literally. And the whole cat vs dog battles.. ridiculous.. I wanted to like this film but I just couldn't. It should have been marketed as a children's movie. Strictly for children up to 10 years old. For that reason I give it 5 out of 10. Since I have to write a minimum of 10 lines here, I will keep ranting about other Australian movies worth mentioning here as an alternative viewing to this one. Kenny is a great Aussie comedy which pushes all the right buttons. Quirky and original, funny without trying too hard. Ten canoes is another beautiful film (Dir. Rolf De Heer) which is made up of a story within a story, which happened long before white settlement of Australia and has an entirely indigenous cast. "The making of Ten canoes" - which comes as an extra DVD in the package - makes equally interesting viewing. Other good Aussie film are Walkabout, Malcolm, Bad boy Bubby, Two hands, Proof, Romper Stomper, The year my voice broke, Radiance, The dish, Chopper and Bootmen, the latter being a great dance movie. I haven't seen enough movies made in New Zealand but a few worth mentioning here are Meet the feebles, An angel at my table, The world's fastest Indian and Whale rider. Happy viewing.
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Good family flick, nothing more
roisinmurfee10 December 2011
This is a family flick of the heartwarming tearjerker variety, but really nothing much more.

As a resident in the area that it is set, I think I took a lot more from the movie that the average viewer would have. It was great to see the equipment, trains and scenery from my daily life up on the big screen. And while some of the reviews here have slammed the representation of the people of rural Australia, I must say that I feel it captured the warmth and community spirit and mixed bag of characters that is up here very well. It IS an unusual cross-section of intense characters with quirky personalities from all corners of the globe, and I think the film captures that spirit extremely well.

Despite that, I do think it lends itself a bit too much to the cheesy side of things. There were several cringe moments in it for me where it was overly soppy or melodramatic, it bordered on musical theater at points. But if taken in the spirit of an tall bar-tale, then that is OK I suppose. It still wouldn't make my top 100 films though, and I certainly wouldn't be recommending it to anyone to watch other than as a sort of basic explanation of what it is like where I live.
9 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Should have been better...
Rachmaninoff286 August 2011
Oh dear... I would have liked to have given this film more than 2/10 since I did like it: There was definitely something likable and enjoyable about its atmosphere and a few of the characters. What ruined it for me was the script writing. In fact, there were some of the lamest, most cringe- inducing, cliché-ridden lines in this film that I've heard for many years. In general, the actors did well in pulling them off, but I was still left feeling very, very unsatisfied by this aspect. In parts, it reduced what should have been quite a good film to second-rate Disney. But despite that, the film is still emotionally engaging.
10 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best Dog
kosmasp9 May 2012
The story itself (based on a true dog or rather the true dog) is really good. And if you love animals just a little bit, you will adore the movie itself, the story it tells (mostly). I still got a beef with the movie though (no pun intended). For some reason there is a side story that tries to round the whole thing up. Unfortunately it doesn't work at all, being too convenient and too cliché for its own and the viewers good.

You might think I'm pessimistic or too sarcastic with this view, but remember I really like the movie itself, if it weren't for that side story. The dog is really cool and the actors get upstaged by it (obviously). Though this being a movie, they did use more than one dog (haven't checked how many though). The director did a fine job with that
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Warning: Deranged Long Rant Alert
Rich Wright23 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Never have I been more relieved to be a cat person.

Oh. My. God. Where to start? How can I accurately compose my thoughts regarding this... this... in front of me, without spluttering like a madman and losing all self control? I'll try... (and probably fail). I dislike a lot of films, I genuinely HATE some... but there an elite category out there... of ones that REALLY p*ss me off. They offend me on any conceivable level... they aren't just bad, they are also an insult to every thinking person anywhere. Red Dog, welcome to the herd.

The story is apparently based on an Australian legend, of a hound that turned up one day in a working community, ingratiated himself with the labourers before settling down with a Nice Young Man in that neighbourhood. When that Nice Young Man dies in an automobile accident, the dog decides to wait by the man's house for weeks on end for him to return. AAHHH how loyal, you might think.

And then, comes the most single boneheaded scene I have witnessed in a motion picture for eons. The doggie goes walkabout all around Down Under for years... to find his lost master!!!! He hitches lifts on cars, planes, trains... And all the while people are walking past him and shaking their heads sadly(?) All this is done in slow motion with sad music in the background and a ponderous narration to make it all emotional... But I must confess... I haven't laughed so long, and so hard at anything for ages. The same goes for the companion that I watched it with... and she's got 5 mutts of her own. We both agreed that this was indeed, the most stupid animal to ever appear on the Silver Screen.

I have a few questions... WHY did no-one take the dog to a shelter? HOW did it survive for so long 'out there'? WHO kept letting it in their various vehicles? And if the hound is so smart (which we keep being told) how could it not figure out it's master was brown bread, instead of gallivanting around the world like Forrest Gump... complete with a giant map of course, and a red line to indicate where it had gone. It even crosses into JAPAN for godsake. JAPAN!! The fact this ridiculous behaviour is treated with such solemnity makes it all the funnier, and anyone who is moved by such abysmal scriptwriting I would suggest is the same kind of blubbering wreck that turned Princess Diana's death into a national embarrassment. Hankies at the ready...

BUT WAIT!! This is only one in a long assembly line of unbelievably badly handled sentimental moments, phoney baloney mawkish scenes and a supporting character who I would quite happily kill. No, you don't even have to pay me any money... it would be my pleasure. I am of course referring to The Italian. This guy... this guy... he has an accent which makes Manuel's from Fawlty Towers seem bearable, he goes on about his Home Country non-stop throughout (if its so great, why don't you go back there?) and he overemotes EVERY. SINGLE. REACTION. SHOT. His crowning moment of lunacy though, is when he falls in love with a vet's assistant. In one of the most disturbing flights of fancy ever, he imagines: kissing her, marrying her, giving birth to his baby...

It's not just because he thinks up all this creepy crap THE VERY SECOND HE MEETS HER. It's just the thought that someone so attractive might do that... WITH THIS GUY. The worst import from Europe, bar none. And yes, I do include the bubonic plague in that. What's his next move? Why, he steals the dog, and takes it back to the vet week after week with made up illnesses, all the time wearing his best suit and with flowers in tow. Does she ever twig, based on his soppy demeanor, his silly clothes, cheap gifts and fake canine maladies that he has a thing for her? Of course not. And do his psycho tactics work? HELL YEAH!! Note: Do not try this in real life... it'll likely condemn you to a mental institution. Maybe they DO deserve each other, with their terminal stupidity.

SSOOOO... everyone is in love with this pooch. We are bombarded with miscellanious characters telling us "He's the most famous dog in Australian history". He even has a statue put up of him after he croaks it. But based on the evidence the film shows us, he is just a worthless mongrel who begs for food, abandons his friends and family for years on a wild goose chase and doesn't even follow simple commands well. Yet, he is worshipped as some kind of deity every time he walks through the factory, as ALL the humans stop whatever they are doing to fawn over this common creature singing songs about him, drinking in his honour... Even though he's done NOTHING to deserve it. Heck, Lassie must've saved dozens of lives, and he didn't even get a medal. Either they're all total morons with no lives, or they've been implanted with post-hypnotic suggestions to behave like a load of star-crossed ninnies. I'll be kind, I'll go with the latter.

And then of course, we have the sad ending, where the dog dies on the grave on it's master in another blatant display of audience manipulation. Then we get the montage of his life, the introduction of a replacement puppy... and my hanky was thoroughly dry. My sick bucket wasn't though. I've never, ever seen a more shameless attempt at wringing out the tear ducts with such awful material.

So no, before you ask, I didn't enjoy it. Hardy Har Har. 0/10
7 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Daniil Petrov2 July 2013
After seeing the movie, I questioned myself why I even watched it. It is a dull story of a stray dog which people adore for no reason. S what if the dog was searching for its owner? It was just following it's instincts, it was not from true heart. An instinct is like a looping program. Dogs are programmed to stay near their owner. It just followed its program! Whereas a dog is always happy to see its owner, you need to work to get your cat's respect. That is the difference between a cat and a dog. There is no such thing as animal loyalty. Only people are capable of that. Do not think that animals are equal to humans in emotions, because animals will always stay beasts and they must never replace a human. That is that. Since there is no 0 rating, I give 1/10+1 for beautiful landscapes which distract you from the movie.
6 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Red Dog will tell you who you are
seamus-6924 December 2012
Red Dog is a movie which will tell you more about yourself than you might believe. At an extreme, if you like it, you're an empathetic soul who can revel in a good yarn and be whisked away into a world of yesteryear. If you don't like it you are probably a narcissist. So if you know where you sit on the scale between empathetic soul and narcissist you can simply decide to watch it based on your own assumption of your character. The movie has very few flaws (yes I am the empathetic soul) that aren't easily forgivable, the clichés are there but not overstated and the cast all perform admirably. An excellent soundtrack and the best dog acting you may ever see make this a must see family movie. Enjoy it!!
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Forget Hollywood's fluff about man's best friend- this Australian film packed with wit, humour and warmth is the real deal, and a true crowd-pleaser for all ages
moviexclusive16 October 2011
Before you go dismissing this as yet another Hollywood fluff about man's best friend, know this- 'Red Dog' is based on a true story of a stray Australian Kelpie who wound up in the remote mining town of Dampier, Australia and found its way so firmly into the hearts of the locals that a statue of him now greets all visitors to the town. Intrigued yet? You should, for this adaptation of Louis de Bernières' book based on the legend is a surprisingly engaging yarn that is probably one of the best canine movies you'll see this year.

Unfolding in flashback, the movie begins in the late 1970s when the long-haul trucker Tom (Luke Ford) lands up in a bar in Dampier and finds its occupants gathered in a back room trying to put down a copper-hued kelpie cross. The canine affectionately called 'Red Dog' has been- for reasons which go pretty much unexplained- poisoned by strychnine, and the town vet only confirms the worst fears of those gathered there that their beloved companion is dying.

The quizzical Tom inquires about Red Dog from the bartender Jack (Noah Taylor), who will be the first among the rest of the locals to recount their fond memories with him. It is a befitting start, for Jack and his wife Maureen (Loene Carmen) were responsible for bringing Red Dog to the newly established mining town after meeting him on the highway. At first largely ignored among the rowdy mining community, Red Dog finds himself the centre of attraction when a homesick Italian worker Vanno (Arthur Angel) takes to talking to him about his hometown that no one else would bother listening to.

Just like that, screenwriter Dan Taplitz effortlessly hands over the narrating baton to another of the townsfolk gathered in the bar- and Vanno's account tells of Red Dog as everyone's dog but no one's in particular, not the burly Peeto with a secret love for knitting nor the reticent Jocko (Rohan Nicol) nursing a tragic secret. Both characters however are among those personally touched by Red Dog's presence which Taplitz brings to the forefront of the film, and these vignettes are infused with such gentle humour and warmth that you can't quite help but be charmed by them.

The man Red Dog finally chooses as his master is the American bus driver John (Josh Lucas), a drifter who never stays more than two years in one place. John steps out to save the dog from humiliation, and just like that, a permanent bond is forged between the two. So strong is their connection that John senses jealousy on Red Dog's part when he asks the company secretary Nancy (Rachael Taylor) out on a date- the dog placed in Peeto's care finding its own way to the open air movie theatre screening Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws'.

Yet it is to Brisbane born filmmaker Kriv Stevens' credit that one feels equally for the relationship between John and Red Dog as much as that between John and Nancy, instead of manipulating his audience's emotions to favour one over the other. Stevens blends the lives of these characters beautifully, which pays off enormously when the film takes a sombre turn after John's abrupt disappearance following his wedding proposal to Nancy. It's no secret tragedy has befallen- and this becomes a turning point for Red Dog and his legend as the loyal friend waits patiently at John's house for three weeks for his return before setting off on a journey around Western Australia in search of his master.

To say that this bittersweet second half is poignant is an understatement, and we advise you to be ready when you feel a lump in your throat or for that matter tears in your eyes. Stevens doesn't overdo the grief, and the restraint that he displays in handling the proceedings goes a long way in ensuring that the sentiments portrayed in the film always remain genuine. Melodrama is also not his intent, and the sober tone changes to a more decidedly humorously offbeat one when Red Dog faces off with his infamous nemesis, a snarling kitty simply called Red Cat.

The ease with which the film switches between comedy and poignancy is in part due to the spontaneous quality of the storytelling, which eschews any pretension, showiness or heavy-handiness for a straight-up approach. The outback against which Red Dog's story unfolds never feels less than authentic, thanks in no small measure to Geoffrey Hall's wonderfully evocative cinematography which captures the rugged beauty of the Pilbara and its mining industry. The chemistry between the mostly male actors is also excellent, and Lucas and Taylor make for an extremely likable couple.

But the star of the film is first-time leading dog Koko (owned by producer Nelson Woss) who proves to be truly a revelation, responding to the emotional beats of each scene with great eloquence. It isn't often we praise the acting of an animal, but Koko is a large part of the reason why the film works marvellously. The charm of Red Dog's story however lies not with what he did, but rather who he was- as one of the characters in the film points out early on- through his actions to each member of the Dampier community. And told with wit, humour and warmth, it is a crowd-pleaser for all ages.

4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews