Director: Kriv Stenders
Producer: Nelson Woss
Starring: Levi Miller, Bryan Brown, Jason Isaacs, Hanna Manga Lawrence, Calen Tassone, Thomas Cocquerel, Kelton Pell and John Jarratt.
Sweet and funny, set on the backdrop of red desert, burnt skies and a story about a red dog named Blue.
Red Dog: True Blue is the prequel to the well-know Red Dog, that received world wide acclaim back in 2011. A neat compliment that made me want to watch the original again.
Shown as a flash-back to the 1960s, True Blue is about young Mick (Levi Miller) who finds himself at a cattle station out in the middle of no where living with his grandpa (Bryan Brown).
Mick is surrounded by all sorts of characters from Jimmy Umbrella (Kee Chan), the Chinese-Australian cook who hates the sun, Bill (Thomas Cocquerel) the larrikin helicopter pilot, Big John and Little John (Syd Brisdane and Steve Le Marquand) who are always fighting, Taylor Pete (Calen Tassone) the budding activist and Durack (Kelton Pell) the Aboriginal stockman who just knows Blue (Phoenix, the dog) is a tricksta spirit.
Blue wasn’t the feature in this film, but he was certainly the main source of humour. Very clever of director Kriv Stenders (also director of the original Red Dog), as Blue always remained blameless. And the addition of Willy, the crazy, blind-in-one-eye horse who thinks he’s a bull, made the film even funnier.
Aside from the humour, there are themes here to give the story more depth, such as the politics of equal pay for Aboriginal workers, of free love, landrights, punishment of boys who’ve been bad… But what really stood out was the beauty of the landscape and those never ending skies.
Geoffrey Hall has returned as Director of Photography, this time making a conscious effort to keep the colour palette of the landscape authentic. And an anamorphic approach was used for filming giving a narrow depth of field. The result being beautiful, picture card moments with the weather and landscape becoming another character of the story.
At the end of the year when you drag your feet and wonder when summer is actually ever going to begin, it’s great to see a film that has it’s own brand of humour; that evokes laughter bubbling up from the belly; where the story is sweet (without being too sweet) and uplifting.
Yeah, the kid Mick, annoyed me a bit at the start – all private school and precious. But I think that was the point. And the character grew on me through-out the film which may have something to do with the mateship that develops between a lost kid and a cheeky dog named Blue (AKA Marlunghu the tricksta spirit).
And I’m thankful the film didn’t tear my heart out as some of these animal films tend to do. I was left smiling about a story that relates to life while also giving a positive twist making me really, really want to get a pet dog!
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