REVIEW: Red Dog True Blue

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When thinking of Australian movies, works such as The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Castle and Australia would all be appropriate examples. From my perspective as a non-Australian reviewer, these films have included a certain sincerity compared to their Hollywood counterparts being more artistic, culturally relevant and at times even educational.

Red Dog: True Blue builds on the success of the original film, also penned by director Kriv Stenders, that introduced the world to the story of a stray dog who arrived mysteriously at the mining town of Dampier and touched the hearts of all he met. Given the original film concluded with the death of Red, True Blue is a prequel which tells of the dog’s story before he arrived in Dampier.

Inherently Australian there is something incredibly welcoming to viewers. Regardless of their gender, age or nationality, there seems to be a character that almost every member of the audience can all relate to, and if not, there are still a plethora of opportunities to resonate with the story which reflects our fragments of childhood memories we all share. From adventures in magical caves to learning about the wonders of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, the days of Mick and Blue were like a treasure box. Even through Mick’s first love with his tutor Betty, Blue is at his friends side stealing Betty’s underwear from a washing line. Each of these events share a certain naivety that each of us has experienced at an early point of our lives.

Towards the conclusion of the film, it is revealed that even through reminiscence Blue continues to have an effect on the people he interacted with throughout his life as we see an adult Michael buy a dog for his children. This contrasts with the first part of the movie when Michael was depicted as a busy and distracted businessman who was even reluctant to go out of his way to take his kids to a movie.

The film’s cinematography is also a highlight. One cannot help but admire the beauty of the outback where Mick and Blue live. Through the vast number of landscapes and settings showcased throughout the film the audience gains and invaluable impression of the country we live in. Everyone has a certain image of the Australian outback, though this movie invests a substantial amount in enriching our knowledge with the stories of indigenous people and the Aboriginal dreamtime. Even from an international perspective, these images ‘click’ well with our expectations. We can discover Australia and its iconic imagery through this movie, accessible through an straightforward story about friendship and family.”

Is Red Dog: True Blue a movie made trivially to slot into an ordinary summer school holiday line up?  Possibly, though at the end of the day there is no real detrimental effect on the audience’s enjoyment. In this scorching summer heat, there is no limit to the amount of people one can enjoy and experience the bitter sweet story of Michael and Blue with. This family friendly movie cheers you up at the very beginning of the year with a moving story of friendship, comradery and loyalty.

Sayu Umeda

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