Young police officer Shane Cooper's first day on duty, after relocating to the small town of Red Hill, rapidly turns into a nightmare. News of a prison break, involving convicted murderer Jimmy Conway, sends the local law enforcement officers - led by the town's ruling presence, Old Bill - into a panic and leads to a terrifying and bloody confrontation.
Dear _Red Hill_. I like you. Fondest wishes, Gimly... Ahem, just thought I'd make my opinion pretty straight forward from the get go.
It's Australian, so points. It's got tonnes o' blood and night skies, so points. An Aboriginal with a half a face actually kills someone with a boomerang (there you go Luke, apparently it is possible!), so points. There's lots of fire, but no explosions, so points. The executive producer is Greg McLean (the kid behind _Wolf Creek_ and _Rogue_) so points. Plus, it's entertaining!
And I mean come on, Steve Bisley's in the damn thing! (the guy who played Goose in _Mad Max_). Ryan Kwanten (_The Knights of Badassdo, True Blood_) and Tom E. Lewis (_The Proposition_) make their presence known as the protagonist and antagonist respectively.
It's a little crazy, some sort of... Horror/Crime/Thriller/Western hybrid with a couple of comedic moments. Not that it's a comedy, or cheesy, just a bit funny once or twice... Like! There's this one bit where... Nah, better not ruin it. It's good though!
The score's great, one of the better I've heard lately. Though some of the more extreme Western elements bothered me (like quick-draws, horseback cops and white cowboy hats, etc.) I was more than willing to forgive these, after all, we as Australians are not yet in a position in the film industry where we can afford not to pander to the Yanks.
First time Director Patrick Hughes certainly is somebody I'll be looking out for in the future, if this first effort is anything to go by. _Red Hill_ is imaginative, clever, bold, no-nonsense and entirely watchable film that I'm more than happy to have in my collection. I wasn't blown away, it was no fresh new thing I'd never see coming, but Bisley's screen presence and the general non-stop awesomeness makes _Red Hill_ it one of the better productions we Australians have unleashed onto the world.
Wildheart Films, Hughes House Film, Screen Australia, Wolf Creek Pictures, McMahon International Pictures by Patrick Hughes.
Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tommy Lewis, Claire van der Boom.
Genres: Thriller, Western
Keywords: suicide rape fire small town horse pregnancy jukebox australia panther revenge prison escape murder flashback violence hanged man pregnant wife escaped prisoner scarred face aftercreditsstinger shot australian aborigine
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