Red Hill Reviews
The film is pretty unoriginal lets be honest about it, the layout and events are nothing new and do smell strongly of certain saddle bound Eastwood adventures but again..lets be honest here, its a damn good Aussie version of certain saddle bound Eastwood adventures. Beating around no bushes this is a strong violent retribution/revenge thriller that almost kinda boarders on 'The Terminator' in some building and street sequences with its light-less settings, strong shadows and mute anti hero killer.
From the start you know something is amiss with the local police force and their gruff leader 'Old Bill', you can kinda tell what will happen really but it doesn't detract from the fun of the film one bit. The cast are unknown to me but pretty big in Oz. Bisley as 'Old Bill' is perfect and really comes across well as the hardened no nonsense chief whilst Lewis is great as the mute aboriginal gunman who at first is intimidating, almost robotic like in his swift killings, but you know all is not as it seems.
The lead Kwanten does sort of over act towards the finale as he goes from being a regular guy to a strong stern voiced gunman brewing over with cliches but you feel the tenseness of the finale and you find yourself glued to the screen. Nothing really new to the table here but the whole film looks good and is well acted with a trusted source in the nasty revenge genre to always get the juices flowing, maybe some more nastiness to really bring home the need for revenge was needed though.
Highly recommended and much better fair than the usual over hyped glossy Hollywood guff that was 'No Country for Old Men', this is gritty and more down to earth with realistic characters. The Oz factor of course helps this hugely. Still not so sure what the panther subplot was all about though, why was it needed? oh well.
Story isn't too bad. The acting is choppy, but I liked Ryan Kwanten. He was a really good strong lead. He carried the movie and made it watchable. It's not something I would watch again."
Patrick Hughes's debut feature sets its sights on the big league. True Blood's Ryan Kwanten exchanges buckets of blood for a police badge as the new cop-on-the-block. With an armed criminal on the loose and out for revenge upon Kwanten's colleagues, Hughes proves to be at home with explosive gunplay. But he overshoots with all the strands weaved into an emotional finale, just as low-budget origins can occasionally hobble aspirations.
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, as well as starring in Summer City, Newsfront, A Town Like Alice, Silver City, The Flying Doctors, Water Rats). Ryan Kwanten (The Knights of Badassdom, Griff the Invisible, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Don't Fade Away, Dead Silence, Flicka, Water Rats, Spellbinder: The Dragon Lord, Tru Calling, Rake, True Blood) and Tom E. Lewis (above - The Proposition, Crocodile Dreaming, The Flying Doctors, The Naked Country, Robbery Under Arms, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith) 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! Fuckin' watch it, alright?
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.
Director Patrick Hughes knows how to build suspense and it shows quite generously in the film. From the start of Red Hill, you know something isn't right in the town. Everyone seems to be really tense, holding onto a grudge early on. Ryan Kwanston carries his character along smoothly, giving us that "good cop" routine and doing everything by the book. While Steve Bisley plays his character with a hardened edge, demanding allegiance from the characters in the film. But, the actor that needs commending the most is Tom E. Lewis as his portrayal as a silent and deadly killer. His character moves along the screen taking victim after victim like a raptor. Lewis can give Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) some steady competition. The only difference between the two is that Lewis' character doesn't speak throughout the film and you can notice a hint of pain in his eyes while he takes a life.
The film was centered in a Western-like atmosphere in the country of Australia, concentrating more on the streets of the town in the film. Hughes delivers a mighty impressive display of directing for being his first outing in cinema. From the get-go, you might be confused as to why everyone is so adamant and secretive about killing Conway on sight, but as the story unfolds you'll begin to understand the reason for silence. Red Hill is bloody good fun with some nice script work from the writers involved.