A year after the loss of his father, 12-year-old Ridley and his mother, Gloria, move from New York City to Western Australian to live with Ridley's estranged grandfather, Spencer. In an attempt to establish a relationship with Ridley, Spencer takes him camping. While there Ridley comes across a wild dog entangled in an old barbed-wire fence and saves the dingo from certain death. This was against all that his grandfather believed and he tried to convince Ridley of his foolishness.
Ridley discovers some intruders planning to burn down his grandfather’s barn and hides in the tray of their vehicle and ends up lost deep in the outback. Here he again comes across the dingo who saves him this time from an attack by a snake. The two develop a bond and both boy and dog work to survive the elements to get Ridley back home.
This was a watchable film, with some elements of tension and humour. There were some errors made in the filming and dialogue. The story was set in Western Australia, but the airport showed a sign “Silver City” which many know is in fact Broken Hill. Editing should have noted this and removed it. And there were several American terms used by rough Australian farmers. Why would a couple of outback farmers use the terms bathroom (toilet or bog), hog (pig) or gas (petrol)? This led us to question if the film was targeted at an American audience
The lead characters were Bill Nighy (Spencer), Victoria Hill (Gloria), Milan Burch (Ridley) and Kelton Pell (Jules, a farmhand working for Spencer). Performances were reasonable, with a stark contrast between characters of Spencer and Jules. Spencer was hard on Ridley, trying to discipline him, while Jules was more inclined to help him find his own way.
The cinematography showing the deserted outback of Australia provided a good view. There was an element of stereotyping of the Australian outback characters, but this was not as exaggerated as sometimes. In some ways the story was a bit farfetched, but overall it was a watchable film that we rated as 3 out of 5.
With BPACC and other cinemas in regional Victoria open, the film for our November class will be “Shiva Baby”, a comedy starring Rachel Sennott, Danny Deferrari and Fred Melamed. And for anyone interested, the latest James bond film, “No Time to Die” opens at BPACC on 25 November. We will need to consider whether this could be the film for discussion for our December class.