Red Dog: True Blue
Ahlia Karam | 16/12/2016
The first Red Dog was a jolt of light in the Australian cinematic landscape of 2011. Shying away from the traditionally grim and inhospitable tendency of Australian filmmaking, Red Dog was full of heart. It made more than $21 million at the Australian box office, and ranked 8th in the list of highest-grossing Australian films of all time (even if it was not nearly as well received overseas where it was called “genial but unsophisticated fare, with plenty of hammy acting and broad humour” – The Hollywood Reporter).
With Red Dog: True Blue, director Kriv Stenders and writer Daniel Taplitz explore the early years of Red Dog. Opening with a middle aged, high end business man running late to get home to his family. Upon his return, his wife is angry at him, reminding him that he promised to take his son to see some movie about a dog. The father and son go to the movies to watch the original Red Dog, only for the audience to discover the reveal that the businessman father is actually the original owner of the dog.
Much like in the first film, we find the plot thusly framed by the story-telling element. In many respects that is one of the only similarities the two films share plot-wise. The first Red Dog film was an intriguing mix of adult plot points mixed in with family friendly fare. With this prequel, Stenders makes the clear decision to shoot for the family market more wholeheartedly, and the meandering, barely there plot is proof of this.
While Jason Isaacs and Levi Miller, playing the same character in different time periods, bring them both acting chops. It is tough to see this film as anything other than a combination of money-grabbing attempt to profit of fans
off the first and tourism advertisement for outback Australia. Indeed, Geoffrey Hall’s cinematography does make the desolate Australian outback look stunningly picturesque.
The prequel to Red Dog drops any of the adult drama but still retains the family-friendly heart of the original.