Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Red Dog

The dishy Josh Lucas as Red Dog's beloved owner
he has bloody lovely teeth!

During the 1970s Western Australia had it's own sort of folk hero in the shape of a kelpie/cattle dog cross who was nicknamed Red Dog. The dog, turned up at the small mining town of Dampier and was adopted by a local bus driver for the local Iron Company. After the death of his owner Red Dog got a name for himself for travelling great distances on his own, (a feat that captured the imagination of many) and was adopted as a sort of mascot by the Dampier Salts Social club, the local bank and by the small mining community itself, before he died of malicious poisoning in 1979.

Yes, the story was just, ripe to be made into a bit of cinematic whimsy, with the doggy central character winning over the hearts of those gruff stereotypical Australian miner types who were just begging to be made into better human beings by the love of a not-so-dumb animal.

Miners with sideburns

So Red Dog (The Movie) tells this story with charm and some gentle humour. The miners are indeed "tarts with hearts"; everyone is pissed 80 % of the time and the dog "actor" (called Koko) is just this side of "cute" to get most of the audience blubbing into their hankies by the last reel.

Think Whiskey Galore crossed with Local Hero and add a touch of banal 1970's Aussie sit com and you'll get the gist of Red Dog........it's not a great film...... but is a rather sweet, entertaining and enjoyable one, once you sit back and relax a little



  1. Koko and Josh Lucas have the same nose!
    Jane x

  2. Glad you enjoyed this retelling of what is essentially a kid's story ( a bit like War Horse was ). There is a statue of the dog as a memorial in Broome, WA .
    Must say it brought a tear to my eye .... but then it did when I was reading it with my Year 6 class many years ago.

  3. Helsie
    your review is better than mine.. you are right
    it's a kids story for adults!

  4. Looking forward to seeing it but refuse to pay $28.00AUS at Woolworths to buy the DVD!

  5. I saw this too. What's that saying we have about being damned by faint praise? I guess there was an endearing superficiality about it - as in "Gregory's Girl" for example. For me the best feature of this film was seeing a part of Australia that is seldom visited by camera crews.

  6. Hi John! I'm catching up on your blog--As always, I have no idea where you get all the time to do everything you do and watch a movie or two as well!

    I hope Mabel is okay!

  7. F--- the film just how is Mabel doing?

  8. I don' t go to movies where the dog dies. Old Yeller traumatized me for life..

  9. doc
    she is going back to the vets today
    I will report later

  10. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    I'll have to check this movie out if for no other reason to see the sights. The only way I get to travel these days.

  11. Anonymous9:09 am

    John, any excuse for a good cry. Did you ever read Jack London's "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang"? And then there was Lassie - a US export if ever there was one. And Skippy the Kangarooh. And that doctor with Clarence, the cross eyed lion. See what you've done: Send me backwards down the channels.

    Lamas don't make good dogs. One once spat at me. And I thought to myself: If you, Lama, find yourself in a zoo don't expect little girls not to look at you. I didn't spit back. One has one's dignity. Even at age seven.


  12. not convinced that you've "sold" this movie to me..... sounds like one to recommend to my girlfriend's dog adopting mum though!!

  13. Has Skippy been ousted as Australia's favourite animal saviour?

  14. Our friend Kath ran this film for us when we were in Melbourne in January. Hardly Oscar-material but a charming and moving little film which we greatly enjoyed. If you haven't seen it, do so!

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  16. Can't bear it when animals die in the end - I am too much of a softie where they are concerned.

  17. I haven't seen it yet but thanks for a review from a Welshman. How excellent! What I liked was the screen grab of those crusty blokes wearing sunglasses. They haven't changed, here in Western Australia.


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