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Red Hill could best be described as an Australian take on the American
Western. It centres on a young policeman who moves to a remote town to
work with the local police department. The town is immediately laid
under siege by an escaped Aboriginal convict who appears to have a
grudge against the local police officers and their lackeys. Dark
secrets from the past are gradually revealed.
This is a very well put together film. Cinematography, music and acting are all of a very high calibre. Ryan Kwanten is particularly good as the young policeman with insecurities and fears of his own; Kwanten makes for a very likable lead and injects some moments of humour into the suspenseful narrative. Tommy Lewis is also highly memorable as Jimmy Conway, the silent escaped convict with grimly burned face. The Australian landscape is captured nicely and the score compliments proceedings well.
It has to be said that the storyline is a little predictable. There isn't really anything overly new here. But this is not a significant problem as it really is a very well put together film. It's a solid thriller, and along with Wolf Creek proves that the Australian film industry is more than capable of delivering superior product in this genre. This one is well worth your time.
Shane Cooper has just moved to the small town of Red Hill. On his first
day as a constable, he must try to stop a very dangerous convict who
just escaped and is coming back in town for unfinished business.
In a nutshell, this is Red Hill and those few lines alone are sufficient to understand this plot contains classic western elements. Director Patrick Hughes seems to understand the genre very much and seamlessly blends it to the somewhat modern context.
Taken as a very serious film, Red Hill might not score very high but thankfully, Hughes doesn't take it too seriously and has written a smart script that has great ingredients and builds up the tension gradually. His direction is likewise efficient, mixing contemplative scenes with straight up action/thriller. Overall, it's got some mood to it while never forgetting it's first and foremost a piece of entertainment.
At the heart of the film are the main characters. Hughes doesn't offer much exposition for and still succeeds in giving a lot of life to most of them. This is in part good writing and direction but also due to the very talented cast. Ryan Kwanten stars as young constable Shane Cooper and he conveys very well the "main hero" vibe by being human and vulnerable rather than just a squeaky clean superhero. Steve Bisley plays Bill, his boss who represents the law in town and pretty much seems to run it. Bisley is amazing to watch and steals many of the scenes he is in with great charisma and a domineering personality. When he talks, people listen. Finally, Tommy Lewis plays Jimmy Conway, the convict on the loose. Lewis succeeds in giving his character a brutal, menacing aura without uttering a single word, which I find very impressive.
One of the very impressive element of Red Hill is the stunning music score. Absolutely wonderful work by Dmitri Golovko, who has very few credits to his name. The script shifts through different tones and moods and Golovko is always right on target, never overdoing it. Expect to hear more from this guy in the future.
Despite all the praise, Red Hill is not perfect. The surrounding characters in the story (other officers of the law, various citizens and Cooper's wife) are too sketchy. The cinematography is cool but few scenes are really memorable and absolutely nothing will make your jaw drop. The action scenes range from "pretty cool" to "lacking". The western genre is cleverly revisited and transposed to our times but Hughes doesn't bring anything new at all. What you have a cool film that partly reminded me of classic Walter Hill movies. I wish Hughes had given just another pass to his script, fleshing out some characters and situations just a little more and given slightly more thought to some scenes, including the conclusion which I feel was slightly anti-climactic the way it was shot.
But if you're a fan of classic western or old school action thrillers that do not sacrifice a smart script just to string one action scene after another there is no doubt Red Hill should at least entertain you. Australian cinema keeps on expanding in all directions and I keep on loving it!
For his first full feature, Patrick Hughes has done very well and I am looking forward to more films written and/or directed by him.
I have to say when I downloaded this flick I totally wasn't expecting
to be blown away like I was. It doesn't matter that the movie uses a
familiar premise because they do it with unbelievable style. A young
City sheriff and his wife are expecting a baby. The youngster decides
to leave the City for a more relaxed cushy job in the Australian
countryside. All is well and the small town appears to be a peaceful
place until a local murderer with a nasty revenge streak blasts his way
out of prison. Old scars are reopened with a vengeance in this Western
Chiller. I won't go any further, but I just loved the badass Conway in
this. Bearing a small resemblance to Charles Bronson he never says a
word and still is one of the is the scariest people you will ever
encounter in film.
If you liked No country for old me, I would highly recommend this movie. Actually I recommend it anyway. Check it out. Its a doosie:)
When Kane Hodder says, this is the best movie that ran on Frightfest
(Festival in London), you don't argue with him. Well not to his face
that is. Unless Freddy's got your back ... Seriously though: This movie
is very fine crafted and has not only a great ambiguous feeling about
it, it has also great performances.
You may know where this is heading, because the hints are very obvious, but get them or not, I don't think that should matter much. I do think that you can enjoy the movie either way. It is violent and it is very dark and bleak too. But it also has a counterbalance to all that. The reason Kane Hodder liked the movie? Because it has one of the greatest villains in it (and coming from Kane, that says something)
Edit: Of course Kane meant best movie besides Hatchet 2 (the latter being his real favorite), that was shown at the Festival too.
For quite some time now, amongst the 1000's of movies I have watched, I noticed a certain ennui to my movie watching, as other people have said, this has been done before, most notably in American westerns. The wronged man comes back to reap his vengeance on the evil-doers. If this had been strictly formulaic and badly acted and filmed i would not have seen it all the way through to the ending. However, I was pleasantly entertained, I don't think it was too obvious a plot, it had me guessing for a while. The escaped convict looked suitably elemental and Ryan Kwanten as the young cop on his first bloody day in the outback played it well. Yes, there were some strange parts to the movie, although I just found the inclusion of the wild animal an amusing aside, and not to be taken too seriously. The score was good, the atmosphere was suitably bleak and a lot of it filmed at night to add to the tension. I think people expect too much these days, no this was not Unforgiven, but for a low budget movie out of Australia I thought this was a good remake of the classic revenge western. Certainly worth a viewing if you love westerns, or if you like revenge plots. For a Sunday afternoon, you could do a whole lot worse.
I have watched thousands of films over the years and I am not saying
this was the best film I have ever seen but it was so good I registered
just to review it.
Most of this thriller is set at night, which makes it very edgy and atmospheric. The acting is top notch, good characters and a strong storyline.
It is the story of a young cop who transferred to a quiet Australian town to alleviate the stress on his pregnant wife who previously suffered a miscarriage. On his first day at the office an escaped convict comes to town, intent on bloody revenge.
An excellent film all round.
Red Hill follows a police officer who recently transferred from the
city to the rural town of Red Hill for the health of his pregnant wife.
On his first day, however, an escaped convict threatens the apparent
peace in the town.
I loved this movie. The camera work was excellent,the town's characters had-character, and the tense sections were pulled off just right. The main direction the movie would take was discernible early on, but I never knew what would happen next. It played like a western and had a wonderful small town feel.
I would recommend this movie to anyone. It was gripping, fun, and had touching moments. Excellent!
There are a couple of times when there's what I judge an unnecessary
jump in the plot line to accommodate something improbable in an
otherwise realistic situation. They're minor flaws that actually
brought a smile to my face rather than a groan, but they seem a little
out of place even though this is an Australian film and they're famous
for that kind of inclusion.
It didn't ruin my evening but it would have improved the film to have passed on them. This is an easily understood plot: a cop needs to get to a peaceful town in order that his wife can successfully carry their baby. Naturally, things go wrong his first day when a convicted murderer heads to the remote town to wreak havoc on his accusers. There little flashy gunplay or inspirational heroics, but the film will grow on you because it's very human and understandable.
All roles are artfully rendered by the cast and there's the constant feeling that you are there in a remote but beautiful area of Australia.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At the outset, I think reviewers should be careful about detailing the
plot, unless they've indicated spoilers. By the time the film ends,
it's nothing you've expected, even after the first hour of the film. In
fact you may even want to skip this review until after you've seen it.
This is a film about a young police office and his wife moving from the city to the outback, with the promise of a more relaxed setting to live and work.
What follows is a clash of cultures and personalities, set amidst the premise of action and suspense, but ultimately adding up to much more.
Lost in the on-target acting (look up who the chief of police was after watching the film, if you haven't placed him, you'll be surprised), harsh and beautiful scenery, and well-suited music, is a patient hand in the director's chair, that results in a payoff that which leave you breathless. Not to be missed.
Red Hill is written and directed by Patrick Hughes. It stars Ryan
Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tom E. Lewis and Claire van der Boom. Music is
by Dmitri Golovko and cinematography by Tim Hudson.
Young city cop Shane Cooper (Kwanten) gets a transfer to Red Hill, a place he hopes is a quiet enough town for himself and his pregnant wife to successfully raise a family. But his arrival at work coincides with the escape from prison of aborigine Jimmy Conway (Lewis), who is heading into town with revenge firmly on his mind.
Jimmy Conway has escaped and he's bringing hell into town.
Utterly splendid Neo-Western out of Australia. For his feature film debut, Patrick Hughes has crafted a loving homage to the Western genre whilst also imbuing his film with its own suspenseful blood. Blending Ozploitaton thriller values with Western genre staples of the past, Red Hill unspools on narrative terms as a gritty and rugged revenge piece.
Red Hill the town is fronted by gruff sheriff Old Bill (Bisley), he leads a pack of scuzzy characters who consider it their town and god help anyone who stands in their way. Into this maelstrom comes fresh faced Shane Cooper (yes the name is Alan Ladd and High Noon purposely spliced together), a genuine and honest copper harnessing a tragedy as well as a moral code that's not for shaking.
After quickly finding out that Old Bill is lacking in human graces, Shane finds himself coming face to face with Conway, who is all the horsemen of the apocalypse rolled into one. Face badly scarred and adorned with weapons and duster, Conway seems to have supernatural resources to go with his expert tracking skills and knowledge of the surrounding outback terrain (so think High Plains Drifter & Chato's Land then).
How come, though, that as he callously goes about killing off members of the scuzzy crew, each time he meets up with Shane, who is in full tilt survival mode, Conway refuses to kill Shane? And just what is that symbolic Panther doing stalking the edges of the landscape? One and the same, perhaps? It will of course all be revealed, and in truth it's no great surprise, the beauty is in how Hughes has toyed with our perceptions about Conway, this in turn makes for a cracker-jack finale.
Performances are superbly in tune with the material, Cooper, Lewis and Bisley really manage to steer their respective characters away from being histrionic or cartoonish. Musically it features stabs of delightful grungy rock blending in with Golovko's mournfully ironic score. The widescreen photography is most interesting, in that there's often smart shifting between a washed out palette to emphasise the remoteness of the setting, to opened up capturing of the beautiful vistas (filmed on location in Omeo, Victoria). The Blu-ray is a must for anyone interested in the film.
The sparse location is matched by sparse dialogue, there is no need for extraneous conversations or pointless filler, Hughes knows what he is doing. It's made with love and respect to one of the finest of film genres, and hooray to that! 8/10
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