I first saw this Australian film actually IN Australia over Christmas of 2011 when I was visiting family. It was my first massive trip to visit my cousins in New South Wales, and the first time I’ve been to Australia that I remember (once when I was a toddler, apparently once in my mother’s stomach, yes thank you dad for constantly reminding me I was conceived there!). It was a great trip full of family fun, sightseeing, beaches, attempted surfing and new year in Sydney! But more of that for another time. My auntie bought me the DVD of Red Dog while there as a christmas present. It is now a favourite.
Set in 1971 the film follows the lives of the residents of the Australian town of Dampier, a port town with a real life population of about 1,341. The film is based on a true story of a dog who was partial to travelling around West Australia during his lifetime, but as usual the film elaborates a bit and makes more of a story around the character.
It’s one of those films that just hits the spot with character development. The stories I’ve heard from my sister who spent some time working at a remote Australian bar just add to the perception that although these types of towns are tiny you find the most interesting characters there. From the tough guy who turns out to secretly love knitting, to the strong silent character that’s hiding something, and to the Italian that to the annoyance of his workmates just won’t shut up about how wonderful his hometown is.
In terms of the setting, it shows the side to Australia that not many mainstream travellers will ever get to see. It’s the day to day lives of people living in the most remote places, basically only there for work, that are the attraction rather than a beautiful landscape, (although the red dust from the desert is striking and how Red Dog got his name) or historical landmarks. But it’s where they call home.
Now I’ll stop being all philosophical and get back to the film itself. All I can say is: be prepared to cry. Both happy AND sad tears, it’s a weird one this. Although there are really sad parts to the film the story puts the focus on being happy because of what you had, it focusses on remembering and appreciating the good times.Get ready for a pretty adorable love story as well. This film has everything.
So think Marley & Me but happier, you get me? Well you will when you see this film. Seriously it’s a must see, the dog has so much sass it’s unbelievable, one of the best moments is when he farts out of spite and evacuates a whole bus in the process. Genius.
Here’s the trailer, now watch it immediately!