"All the sad faces in the world ain't gonna work, so you can just stop."
— John Grant
Red Dog is a 2011 Australian film directed by Kriv Stenders, starring Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor and introducing Koko as the title character. The film tells the story of a dog in a Western Australian mining town and how he affects its inhabitants, including an American drifter, a secretary, an Italian immigrant and a quiet man with a tragic past.
The film provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: The film features a drive-in screening of Jaws (1975) in 1973. Nobody smokes throughout the film despite there being no restrictions on it.
- Bechdel Test: Red Dog doesn't count as a man, so the film passes despite featuring only three female characters.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Vanno. "Dogged", haha.
- Framing Device: The bulk of the story is told as a series of anecdotes in a pub to a visiting truck driver.
- Heroic Dog: Red Dog gets John out of a pub brawl and later saves a man's life, though inadvertently.
- Hospital Hottie: Rose. It's actually a veterinary clinic, but whatever.
- Kick the Dog: Literally, at least the dog part; some pub-goers time Red Dog eating a can of dog food, then try to up the ante by having him eat a live chicken, but are foiled by John. The caretaker's wife takes it one further later on and tries to kill Red Dog by shooting him.
- Old Dog: Red Dog in the narrative present.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: "All the sad faces in the world ain't gonna work, so you can just stop", says John when he meets Red Dog, who wants to hitch a ride in his bus. Sure they won't.
- Worthy Opponent: Offered as a possible reason why Red Dog and Red Cat became friends.
- Unreliable Narrator: Did Red Dog really hop a ship to Japan?
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The film is based on a book by Louis de Bernières, which in turn is loosely based on anecdotes and even poems collected by Nancy Gillespie. All we know for sure is that there was a dog known to many as Red Dog who traveled Western Australia's Pilbara region, spending much of the meantime in the town of Dampier, adopted a bus driver as his master and died in 1979 and had a statue built in his honour. Much of what else happens to Red Dog throughout the film is based on common elements of various allegedly true events and therefore probably have a kernel of truth to them.
- Walk the Earth: John's life consisted of this before he met Nancy and Red Dog. Red Dog does a lot of this, too.