Red Dog

(PG) Roadshow DVD/BD

Even before I pressed play I knew Red Dog was a powerful film. I had heard prominent film critics award their highest praise and intelligent, cynical people compare stories about the scene that reduced them to tears.

And so I watched optimistically, knowing there would come a time where I would feel heart warmed and devastated in the cosiest patriotic way.

The film follows a dog as it is picked up hitch hiking and taken into a remote Australian mining town where it impacts the lives of those who live there in quirky and adorable ways.

Confusingly, I remained unmoved by what seemed like a predictable and clichéd depiction of my country. Am I that severe and badly defined foe —  an “un-Australian” — for neither crying nor laughing, for even cringing throughout migrant stereotypes, Australian stereotypes and plots that were predictable from the get-go?

While it references the genuine classics before it (Loene Carmen and Noah Taylor from The Year My Voice Broke reunite as a publican couple, there is a pub scene that though fluffier, is reminiscent of Wake in Fright) Red Dog doesn’t break new ground.

Nonetheless, it obviously rings true for most Australians and it’s great to see and Australian film advertised on billboards, buses, even in vet clinics. Red Dog seems to have succeeded in hypnotising our country in a way Australia only  budgeted for. It’s also priceless PR for kelpies.

Lyndal Irons

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