A man must overcome the odds to reunite with his childhood idol in this riveting music masterpiece which features one of the final performances of a jazz legend.
In 1969, in the Australian Outback town on Poona Flat, jazz musician Billy Cross landed on the local airstrip and played an impromptu concert for the locals. Johnny Anderson, a 12-year-old kid, became inspired with Billy telling him if he ever gets to Paris to look him up. The meeting with Cross would inspire Johnny to take up the trumpet and be a well-known musician in his hometown.
“Dingo” as Johnny is called, is inspired to go to Paris to reunite with his idol. However, he is constantly told by the locals and his wife that there is no chance of him ever getting to Paris. When John takes a chance and writes a composition for an agent in Paris, he receives a telegram but he thinks it is a joke from the locals. After playing an impromptu session at a dance, John decides to head to Paris, and he hopes to reunite with his childhood idol.
An inspirational film from Down Under with France as a co-producer finally is seen in the United States after three decades. Director Rolf de Heer has called described this film as the “powerful impact of music in the world” and it couldn’t be truer. Marc Rosenberg’s script is the epitome of the theme of “following your dreams” and in the case of the titular “Dingo”, it proves to be correct, but not without its detractors.
Colin Friels is excellent in the role of John “Dingo” Anderson, a local Poona Flat man who finds music to be the one purpose in his life after seeing his idol play in town for the first time. Anderson dreams of reuniting with his idol but everyone in town, from his best friend Peter and wife Jane to the local drunks, don’t think Peter will get to live his dream and they constantly tell him to forget it. When he plays with his band, he seems to be a perfectionist like his idol and berates his bandmates when they don’t go on par with him. Ironically, it is a pivotal scene where Dingo plays an impromptu trumpet solo during a town dance that it becomes clear that Dingo must do what it takes to reunite with the man who changed his life.
And who plays this mysterious idol that has become the inspiration for Dingo? The character of Billy Cross and he is played by one of the greatest jazz musicians ever to walk the face of the Earth, the late great Miles Davis. Davis plays Billy not as the greatest player ever, but a really grounded person. Very rare does a character some off as a realist and Cross is exactly that. When Dingo does reunite with Billy, Dingo sees the changes that reality can bring, including when he offers to play one of his tapes and Billy tells him he doesn’t want to hear it because “if he likes it, he will think he’s being nice and if he doesn’t like it, he will be hurt”. Davis, in what would be his final film role before his passing in 1991, also composed the jazz tunes with Michel LeGrand composing the score as well.
Dingo is a very inspiring tale involving music and following your dreams. Colin Friels is excellent in the titular role with the legendary Miles Davis in one of the most realistic roles in any film.
WFG RATING: A+
Dark Star Pictures and Umbrella Entertainment presents a Gevest Australia Productions/AO Productions/Cine Cinq/Dedra Film production. Director: Rolf de Heer. Producers: Rolf de Heer and Marie-Pascale Osterreith. Writer: Marc Rosenberg. Cinematography: Denis Lenoir. Editing: Suresh Ayyar.
Cast: Colin Friels, Miles Davis, Bernadette Lafont, Helen Buday, Joe Petruzzi, Bernard Fresson, Brigitte Catillion, Steven Shaw, Helen Doig, Daniel Scott, Chelsea Gibson, Ben Mortley.