Red Dog True Blue Levi Miller Phoenix

Every legend has a beginning.

A canine comedy-drama inspired by Outback folklore (and a book by Louis de Bernieres), 2011’s Red Dog was a huge box-office hit in its native Australia. Now director Kriv Stenders and writer Daniel Taplitz have come up with entertaining prequel Red Dog: True Blue.

Craftily, the film opens with a cinema screening of the original movie in Perth in 2011, which prompts Jason Isaacs’s workaholic dad to open up to his young son about his childhood experiences in late-1960s Western Australia. Red, the dog up on screen, was his dog, Blue, the stray puppy he discovered as a gawky city boy (Levi Miller) sent to live on the remote cattle station run by his gruff grandfather (Bryan Brown).

What ensues is sketch-like and episodic, with the mischief-making mutt and his human companion getting into all manner of scrapes and adventures on and around the station. But Stenders holds this shaggy dog of a tale together with the odd touch of Outback magic realism, while cinematographer Geoffrey Hall makes the blue skies and red earth glow with the nostalgic colours of memory.

Certificate 12A. Runtime 85 mins. Director Kriv Stenders

Red Dog: True Blue shows on Sky Cinema Premiere from 3 December.