In 2011 one of the highest grossing Australian produced films of all time; Red Dog released, telling the tale of a local urban legend, the Red Dog.
A masterless canine that wandered the Pilbara outback, visiting communities and inspiring the locals during the 1960’s.
Producer Nelson Woss had always wondered (as many of those that know the legend) where Red Dog (aka Pilbara Wanderer) came from. Red Dog: True Blue is a prequel to the first film, telling the story of exactly that, the beginnings of the Red Dog story.
Set in picturesque Australian outback near Pilbara a young boy is sent to live with his grandfather while his mother is admitted in to a psychiatric hospital.
Being a city boy, Mick (Levi Miller), the red sand and isolation is something that he is not used to. His grandfather (Bryan Brown) takes him under his wing and becomes a father figure to the pubescent child.
On his grandfathers station, a farm of sorts in the middle of nowhere, young Mick learns of the dangers and stories of the area. From avoiding his grandfathers horse which was struck by lightning once and now thinks it is a Bull, through to exploration of the endless outback, where he discovers a cave with a pond. Inside the small pond lies a pure white stone, unusual for the area.
The Station itself has it’s own set of characters, an Asian Chef who hates the sun, an ex Vietnam soldier, two brothers who are actually not brothers and a few local ethnic peoples. Not long after arriving there a huge storm whips up and it is the following morning after the storm has cleared that Mick finds a small puppy covered in mud. Mick rescues the distressed animal who he calls Blue – but when he washes the mud off the pup, the hair colour is actually red.
Blue and Mick become best friends and for Mick, the dog is the only one he can relate to. Inseparable they go everywhere together and getting increasingly more curious about the cave that he discovered, Mick asks one of the workers on the station who is of Australian ethnic Aboriginal background.
He is told that the cave is sacred and he should not be going in there. But being a young teenage boy, Mick lets his curiosity take over and he re-enters the cave and takes the stone, hoping it will give him strength, as he also becomes to feel less mature, being that he is surrounded by other males at the station, a couple of them close to his own age.
But the stone is sacred and should not be removed from the cave, else there will and are dire consequences…
During this time, a teacher arrives from the city. Betty (Hanna Mangan-Lawrence) is a young school teacher who dreams of travel, hippies and ultimately going to San Francisco. Being the only female on the isolated Station she draws alot of attention.
She catches the eye of one of the workers; Stemple (Thomas Cocquerel) a young quick witted man around the same age of Betty. As the two become closer and intimate, Mick becomes jealous and tries to challenge Stemple for Betty.
Red Dog: True Blue is a coming of age film and very reminiscent of the same genre that we all grew up with. A boy turning in to a teenager, his hormones kicking in, but yet still seeing the world around him with kids eyes.
As with the first Red Dog film, locals in the Pilbara area were invited by the Producers to partake in the film (Read our Interview with Producer Nelson Woss HERE). From starring as extras through to the local Aboriginal tribe advising on ethnic and cultural matters, Red Dog: True Blue is a peoples film.
To watch this movie is a family outing and being that it is a prequel it is a good place to start if you have not seen the first Red Dog movie, or as equally a much recommended extension to the first Red Dog.
Red Dog: True Blue is soaked in Australian sun, humour and a sense of loss that everyone will relate to. One of the best to see this summer.
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Year: 2016 / 2017
Running Time: 88 MIN
Genre: Family, Drama
Director: Kriv Stenders
Producer: Bryce Menzies, Nelson Woss
Starring: Jason Isaacs, Levi Miller, Bryan Brown, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence, Justine Clarke, Thomas Cocquerel, Steve Le Marquand, Zen McGrath
Production Studio: Woss Group Film Productions, Screen Australia, The South Australian Film Corporation
Distributor: Village Roadshow Films