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105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Aussie WW 1 Drama
I would just like to thank the other positive reviewers on this page as it was due to them that I bought this DVD. I thought it was based on the book of the same name but the book is a follow up, rather like 'Saving Private Ryan'. This film itself tells of the exploits of a group of volunteer Australian miners who were employed during WW 1 to undermine and then blow up...
Published on April 12, 2011 by Tommy Dooley

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Aussies down under literally!!
BENEATH HILL 60 (2010) Directed by Jeremy Sims.

Starring a whole bunch of actors who are literally down under.

The true story of Australian miner and now sapper Oliver Woodward and
the events leading up to the first moments of the June 7, 1917 Battle
of Messines in Belgium during the First World War---which was a great
British victory...
Published 17 months ago by The Mysterious Traveler


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105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Aussie WW 1 Drama, April 12, 2011
I would just like to thank the other positive reviewers on this page as it was due to them that I bought this DVD. I thought it was based on the book of the same name but the book is a follow up, rather like 'Saving Private Ryan'. This film itself tells of the exploits of a group of volunteer Australian miners who were employed during WW 1 to undermine and then blow up enemy German positions. It should be noted that most of the tunnelling was a British effort, but the aid from the Commonwealth was invaluable. I only found out recently that Chineses'coolies' were used extensively for the trench digging too. This then is part of their truly monumentally brave story.

The film is so authentic in its presentation of the terrible conditions endured by all sides at the front and is more astonishing as it was filmed in Australia and funded by inter alia The Australian Film Commission. The acting is spot on, the cinematography though not beautiful does exactly what you would want in terms of conveying the filth and the sense of claustrophobia when below ground. They do not shy away from the gruesome detail and Alan Dukes and Brendan Cowell are both excellent leads.

That said there is not one lack lustre performance and every one comes across as believable. The story is told with a modicum of flash backs but this is so well balanced that it helps the narrative flow. For fans of 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks, this film will add to the plot. For fans of history it also tells a part of the amazing Allied attack on the Messine Ridge. For language wary types, there is some German with sub titles, but as I speak a bit of Deutsh I did not find it off putting. This really is a great film that seemed to just fly by (only one cup of tea - always a good sign)you will not be sorry for the purchase
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In The Trenches--A Powerful Australian Film Showcases A Campaign Under Enemy Lines, June 22, 2011
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 (DVD)
With 1980's "Breaker Morant" by Bruce Beresford and 1981's "Gallipoli" by Peter Weir, I fell in love with Australian cinema. Through the years, I have seen their film industry grow stronger and more prolific with many of my favorites hailing from that area. Both of these pictures deal with war and its devastating consequences and both are powerful depictions of ordinary men pushed into extraordinary circumstances. A similar sentiment can be issued for Jeremy Sims' "Beneath Hill 60," the latest examination of men in battle from Down Under. Nominated for 12 Australian Film Institute Awards, the film tells a remarkable true life story from World War I where miners were brought to the front lines to tunnel under enemy positions. It is not a tale I was familiar with, and the claustrophobic and confined settings makes for a uniquely compelling experience of brotherhood and bravery.

Brendan Cowell plays the central character and much, if not all, of the narrative is seen through his perspective. Remaining at home in Australia to mine copper for the war effort, he is branded a coward. But when tragedy strikes, he takes up arms and heads to Europe. On the western front, he becomes the ranking officer over a crew that is working beneath the trenches. Ultimately, the troop is confronted with one of the largest campaigns of the war--to undermine a pivotal German position beneath the infamous Hill 60. Playing a riveting game of cat and mouse with tunneling Germans, the team works tirelessly to prepare the single largest explosive charge ever collected in one place to devastate the German line from underground. Taut and exciting, the film sets up the tunneling activity with great depth and detail and strands the viewer in the dank earth.

Sims' endeavor is a more classic war story than either of the other films that I mentioned. Those films were driven more by characters, by innocence lost or morality questioned (in truth, they'd probably be called anti-war films). Here the men never veer from the pursuit of a straightforward goal. Sure they deal with fear, adversity, death, unreasonable expectations--but they do so with the single minded purpose of getting the mission done. While the cast is appealing, Cowell plays the only character that gets much actual development. While a good examination of men being brought together by circumstance, the film lacked a bit of emotional impact for me without more in-depth characterizations. It's an easy recommendation, however, as a realistic portrait of men in combat and a unique chapter in history. Well made from a technical aspect, check it out--you might be surprised if this one flew under your radar. KGHarris, 6/11.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GRIPPING EDGE OF YOUR SEAT DRAMA, November 4, 2010
By 
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 [Region 2] (DVD)
THIS TRUE STORY OF A GROUP OF AUSTRALIAN TUNNELERS DURING WW1 IS A WONDERFUL MOVIE THAT WILL HOLD YOUR ATTENTION START TO FINISH. A GROUP OF MEN LEAD BY OLIVER WOODWARD MUST DIG THEIR WAY WELL BELOW GROUND AND THEN ACROSS TO BENEATH THE GERMAN STRONGHOLD ON HILL 60 IN ORDER TO SET OFF THOUSANDS OF EXPLOSIVES IN THE HOPE OF SHORTENING THE BRUTAL WAR. WHAT THESE MEN SEE AND FEEL IS SIMPLY TOO DIFFICULT TO EXPRESS IN WORDS. THIS IS A MOVING AND SOMETIMES BRUTAL VIEW OF THEIR EXPERIENCE
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare excellent war movie that can actually stand up to Private Ryan. A true story that you should watch. I say A-, June 26, 2011
By 
Tony Heck (Belgrade, MT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 (DVD)
"When this thing blows it will be the biggest explosion the world's ever seen." The incredible true story about civilian Australian miners during WWI. When Oliver Woodward (Cowell) and his men are called to the front lines of Germany in order to secure and protect a series of tunnels that are filled with explosives and is directly underneath the German stronghold of Hill 60 they are tested to thier limits. One of the biggest problems facing new war movies is that inevitably they are compared to "Saving Private Ryan". Besideds "We Were Soldiers", this is the only one I have seen that can stand up to the comparisons. I'm not saying it is as good as those but it is pretty close. Much like the other two, the focus is split between the action of the war and the personal struggles of Captain Woodward. The fact that this is about an Australian battle and not an American one is irrelevant to Americans liking this movie. You are so caught up in the story that country doesn't seem to matter (we were on the same side in the war anyway), and you still feel a sense of pride watching the men work. This movie will not disapoint. Overall, one of the best war movies I have ever seen. Watch this, you will be glad you did. I give it an A-.

Would I watch again? - I definatly would.

*Also try - Saving Private Ryan
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally proof that good war movies can be made, March 25, 2011
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 [Region 2] (DVD)
I am so happy with this film. It is probably the best war film set in the Great War, World War 1.

The story follows the Australian tunnelers responsible for mining under the German lines and blowing them to Kingdom come. Every detail is well done both big and small and you are rewarded with a true story and an interesting one to boot. The mining war under the trenches is well realised, with the Germans launching countermeasures and everyone trying to be silent since the other side is listening and here the two sides duel. The situation above ground it well done too, with life in the trenches all soaked in mud and sometimes blood.

There is also some time devoted to memories from back home and here it helps that the Aussies have added a bit of humour that makes it all worth while.

After watching a series of flawed war movies; 71 Into the Fire Korean Movie Dvd English Sub Ntsc All Region Code (Based on a True Story) Kwon Sang Woo, Axis Of War: The First Of August [DVD] [2008] & Axis Of War: My Long March [DVD] [2008] this film was a welcome change.

My best recommendations.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In The Trenches--A Powerful Australian Film Showcases A Campaign Under Enemy Lines, June 28, 2011
With 1980's "Breaker Morant" by Bruce Beresford and 1981's "Gallipoli" by Peter Weir, I fell in love with Australian cinema. Through the years, I have seen their film industry grow stronger and more prolific with many of my favorites hailing from that area. Both of these pictures deal with war and its devastating consequences and both are powerful depictions of ordinary men pushed into extraordinary circumstances. A similar sentiment can be issued for Jeremy Sims' "Beneath Hill 60," the latest examination of men in battle from Down Under. Nominated for 12 Australian Film Institute Awards, the film tells a remarkable true life story from World War I where miners were brought to the front lines to tunnel under enemy positions. It is not a tale I was familiar with, and the claustrophobic and confined settings makes for a uniquely compelling experience of brotherhood and bravery.

Brendan Cowell plays the central character and much, if not all, of the narrative is seen through his perspective. Remaining at home in Australia to mine copper for the war effort, he is branded a coward. But when tragedy strikes, he takes up arms and heads to Europe. On the western front, he becomes the ranking officer over a crew that is working beneath the trenches. Ultimately, the troop is confronted with one of the largest campaigns of the war--to undermine a pivotal German position beneath the infamous Hill 60. Playing a riveting game of cat and mouse with tunneling Germans, the team works tirelessly to prepare the single largest explosive charge ever collected in one place to devastate the German line from underground. Taut and exciting, the film sets up the tunneling activity with great depth and detail and strands the viewer in the dank earth.

Sims' endeavor is a more classic war story than either of the other films that I mentioned. Those films were driven more by characters, by innocence lost or morality questioned (in truth, they'd probably be called anti-war films). Here the men never veer from the pursuit of a straightforward goal. Sure they deal with fear, adversity, death, unreasonable expectations--but they do so with the single minded purpose of getting the mission done. While the cast is appealing, Cowell plays the only character that gets much actual development. While a good examination of men being brought together by circumstance, the film lacked a bit of emotional impact for me without more in-depth characterizations. It's an easy recommendation, however, as a realistic portrait of men in combat and a unique chapter in history. Well made from a technical aspect, check it out--you might be surprised if this one flew under your radar. KGHarris, 6/11.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Balanced Australian War Film, September 23, 2013
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 (DVD)
I wish that the U.S. film industry would learn some lessons about how to make an excellent character-driven drama from the Australian Film Industry. In Beneath Hill 60, the Australians continue to demonstrate the art of fine film making. It is not about non-stop special affects or ridiculous love triangles, but developing characters so that they seem like real human beings. Even though the film focuses on an Australian Tunneling Company at the Battle of Messines Ridge in June 1917, where thousands died, the film manages to evoke empathy for each character and deaths are thus more painful. The story is dramatic and well told, of how the Australian company assisted in completing a tunnel underneath a key German position on Messines Ridge. Interestingly, the film also depicts several German characters and their attempts to detect and defeat the Australian tunneling effort, so there is a cat 'n mouse aspect which adds tension to the film as well. There are some cliches in the film, such as displaying British senior officers as pompous and careless with men's lives, or the father-son team that you just now will end in tragedy. Nevertheless, Beneath Hill 60 is an excellent war film and succeeds in highlighting an aspect of the First World War (tunneling) that has not been covered in any detail before.

The film starts with the entrance of Lieutenant Woodward to the Australian mining company, presumably in early 1916. Initially not like \d by the senior non-com, Sergeant Fraser, Woodward eventually wins the men's loyalty by his caring attitude, technical competence and willingness to stick his neck out for his men. This aspect of the film is basically a primer on effective small unit leadership. Once all doubts are removed, Woodward (now captain) leads the company on the next asssignment to Messines Ridge. I was a bit surprised how the company was depicted - always the same 8-10 men and the unit can all move in one truck. The film mentions briefly that hundreds of men are working on the tunneling project and surely Woodward's company had more men, but they simply aren't depicted. It's also odd that he has no second-in-command (CPT McBain appears, but is commander of another outfit). The film goes to great lengths to depict how tuneling was done and the difficulties of dealing with the wet clay around Ypres. Viewers may not understand why the British/Australians were going to all this effort, since the film really doesn't discuss previous efforts to dislodge the Germans from this terrain. While the frequent flashbacks to Woodward's past in Australia are useful, a flashback that explained the missing "why tunnel?" aspect of the film might have been useful for viewers.

The final part of the film focuses on Woodward's efforts to complete the project before the Germans discover it. One German sergeant is depicted as identifying the Allied tunnel and makes a last-minute effort to destroy it. As with most Australian film efforts, the quality of the cinematography is gernerally excellent - they have a talent for displaying wide tableaus. The combat scenes are generally good, particularly an early effort to destroy a German machinegun position. Some scenes - such as the final detonation of the mine and the British bombardment - are a bit underwhelming. The special affects - such as artillery explosions - are not that realistic and look like TV affects. In the First World War, soldiers differentiated between mortars, light artillery and really heavy artillery and acted differently, based upon the particular weapon's lethality. Like most movies, the actors run around like wet hens whenever any shell lands in the area. I think that both All Quiet on the Western Front and the Price of Glory addressed this issue more realistically. It would also be great if film's like this tried to use more "soldier dialogue" specific to the time period - read any account of the Western Front and they are loaded with jargon, but the films avoid it. Jargon could be explained to the audience by using the "new guy" as a device to explain lingo. Without the soldier jargon, it's sort of like the film Troy's efforts to depict Ancient Greeks with all references to the gods removed.

Nevertheless, an excellent film and well worth watching.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Aussies down under literally!!, March 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 (DVD)
BENEATH HILL 60 (2010) Directed by Jeremy Sims.

Starring a whole bunch of actors who are literally down under.

The true story of Australian miner and now sapper Oliver Woodward and
the events leading up to the first moments of the June 7, 1917 Battle
of Messines in Belgium during the First World War---which was a great
British victory that, in effect, saved the French from complete
collapse that year.

Australia---more than WW 2 seemed to have been scarred by the First
World War in ways other countries were not. While WW 1 films are a
rare thing nowadays, Australia keeps making them. Unfortunately the
majority seen by this viewer have been a great pile of dingo
droppings.........until this one.

Telling the story of the digging of the underground tunnels under
the German lines in Belgium which were then mined and once detonated,
in effect, annihilated the enemy defenses and front line troops
allowing the British to advance almost unoppossed, the film is not only
dramatizing something not heretofore touched by film but atypically for
an Aussie film it does so in a splendid and serious fashion. This is a
unigue war story in any case. For while the Australian sappers are
digging towards the Germans, German sappers are digging towards them
hoping to detonate explosives and cause the Aussie tunnels to collapse.
It becomes a race against time deep beneath the earth to see who can
find whom first.

While there is some soap which besides being a tad cliched has been
traditionally fatal to Aussie WW 1 films...GALIPOLI being the most
prominent victim, here it is just enough to do its job of humanizing
the main character and then goes away. There is some of the rioutous
Boyos playing soccor and drinking which has been the other bain of
Auusie WW 1 films but again here it does not run off wirh the picture
and actually adds some sentiment and meaning to the film's ending.
There is the mud and rats of the trenches stuff but again the film does
not sink into it. The film remembers what it is about, what will make
it unigue and, like the diggers, stays on course.

Not the best WW1 film out there but certainly very very close to the
upper tier and a fine historical film and utterly satisfying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting movie mostly taking place underground..., September 27, 2011
By 
Heriberto Burgos Perez (San Juan, PR Puerto Rico) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 (DVD)
Bought the movie on the strength of its reviews and was not disappointed. Very few movies out there regarding the "war to end all wars". This is one mixes Australians miners with the values of persistence, camaraderie and valor and slowly builts up until it explodes. Fine acting and attention to detail (a tribute to its producers and researchers) make up for a fine fine movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars war, September 6, 2011
By 
Us Bank Gift Card (NASHVILLE, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beneath Hill 60 (DVD)
I am a war movie watcher always looking for something new. This was it. I never knew about tunnelers in WWI until this movie and then did research afterward to learn more. I recommend this movie for other war movie watchers looking for something new.
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Beneath Hill 60 [Blu-ray]
Beneath Hill 60 [Blu-ray] by Jeremy Sims (Blu-ray)
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