Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Red Dog" review

A movie based on the legendary true story of the charismatic kelpie who united a disparate local mining community in the 1970s and 80s while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long lost master.

Not a great movie, by any means but it will enter the folklore of the Australian outback! The best actor was the dog - 


 Josh LucasRachael Taylor and Noah Taylor and given a Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,670 users .

The movie is based on a true story and seems to be an arrangement of different stories about "Red" that were put together to make a movie of the life of the dog. Secondary plot of a romance between Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor.

The story is mainly based in the Iron Ore exporting port of Dampier West Australia and for those unfamiliar with that part of Australia the stark red dust scenery alone is worth viewing the movie.

The story starts with Red Dog dying as a result of eating a strychnine bait and proceeds with various members of the community telling their recollections of events surrounding this kelpie.

An Australian red kelpie is a very interesting type of dog. Some say that the Jack Russell terrier is the most intelligent dog of all dogs (and having owned one for 16 years, I don't doubt that) but the red kelpie is also a breed apart - deductive, attuned to human emotions and cunning they are something special. I know graziers who would have nothing other than a red kelpie.

The penultimate scene is with the mining group paying a rousing tribute to Red Dog and the life they lead:

Way out west where the rain don't fallGot a job with the companyDrilling for oilJust to make some changeLiving and a`working on the land

I quit my job and I left my wifeHeaded out west for a brand new lifeJust to get awayLiving and a`working on the land
Unbeknown to them Red Dog struggles off his death bed and leaves the pub - what follows then .... well, I'm not going to spoil a good ending.

As I said - not a great movie but one that will go into the archives of Australian film lore!

Well worth watching - my rating 7.5 out of 10


Susan Heather said...

I saw this movie a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. Good story.

JohnD said...

Yep! Not a 'great film' in that it wont win any Oscars but a nice story line that was easy to follow and able to be listened too without heaps of coarse language!

North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard said...

I am sure I would "love" a Kelpie, as much as I love my Australian Shepherds. Could you "bubble" wrap me up one & we will do a "trade off" please John ! LOL

JohnD said...

I'd love to but they can be so mischevious they would be difficult to bubble wrap lol!

JohnD said...

John Gray said...

I kind of liked this movie although I agree it is not a real classic....
The dog is a real star.......are these kind of mutts as tough as the literature says they are john?

JohnD said...

Tough as old boots, John! Work their guts out on farms herding sheep or cattle, never complain, will eat anything the farmer throws their way and at the end of the day they'll just curl up as close the camp fire as they can get. On the farm their home is an old oil drum or a hollowed out log and mostly they are chained up. A good working dog's pups go for around $500-$700AUS (each).

Kobe aka "Red Dog" in the film was carrying far too much conditioning for a decent kelpie. Usually they are kept lean and hungry. They are medium-sized dogs and come in a variety of colours. Kelpies have been exported throughout the world and are used to muster livestock, primarily sheep, cattle and goats.

Working Kelpies are bred for working ability rather than appearance.

Wikipaedia says The first "Kelpie" was a black and tan female pup with floppy ears bought by Jack Gleeson about 1872 from a litter born on Warrock Station near Casterton, owned by George Robertson, a Scot. This dog was named after the mythological kelpie from Celtic folklore.[ Legend has it[says who?] that "Kelpie" was sired by a dingo, but there is little evidence for or against this. In later years she was referred to as "(Gleeson's) Kelpie", to differentiate her from "(King's) Kelpie", her daughter.

btw - they used six red kelpie dogs in shooting that film - Kobe did all the close-up work.