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3.4 out of 5 stars
Red Hill [Blu-ray]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2011
Format: DVD
Not "The Outback" but actually set and filmed in the seldom-seen Southern Alpine region of South-East Australia. This film is well worth watching and more plausible than some think (see my "Comment" no. 3 under Steve Kuehl's critique on this page). Real political issues are woven into the film, such as the proposed high-speed rail line and restrictive highland access for cattle grazing. This gives more "local" edge to a tense, well-paced film. The only real inconsistency (to Australians) would be a "shortage" of Police vehicles requiring the main character having to go horseback to check-out a report on his first day.
Anyone who enjoys this film should also consider "The Proposition", "Dead Heart" and "Two Hands".
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
True Blood star Ryan Kwanten plays a young Shane Cooper, a constable on his first day on the job in a small town in Australia. When an escaped convict (Tom E. Lewis) returns to the town to wreck vengeance, Shane has to keep his wits about as he comes to learn that things truly aren't what they seem. What makes Red Hill so surprisingly enjoyable is that it is for all rights and purposes a modern-day western with an Aussie backdrop. The stand-offs, the final showdown, the dusty environment, and the gorgeous Australian outback; all of which combines to make for a surprisingly memorable thriller. Even more surprising is Kwanten, who after seeing him play an idiot for the past few years on Trube Blood, is a welcome change of pace to see playing an intelligent and heroic character. All in all, Red Hill is wholeheartedly worth your time if you're looking for an intelligent thriller.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
This sets itself up as a `Western' and does not fail to deliver. This is a modern day take on such greats as `High Noon'. It tells the story of a young cop Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten), who moves to the back of nowhere to not jeopardise the pregnancy of his wife, as city life can be so stressful.

On his first day his new boss ridicules him for being late, not having a gum and a past indiscretion when he failed to shoot a kid. That incident ended up with him being shot instead. This is the town time forgot, but Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis) most certainly hasn't. He is an Aborigine, who has been jailed for murdering his own wife. He has just escaped from a high security prison, and the townsfolk are adamant he is heading their way, and they get tooled up. They are ordered to shoot on sight.

Shane is told he has to go to some outback farm and the only source of transportation available is a horse. He does not sit too well in the saddle and is given the advice `just look where you want to go, and the horse will follow.

There is also a sub plot about a roaming panther and the aboriginal, sacred ground atop the nearby mountain. The rest is pure western with Jimmy turning up and the shooting begins.

I really enjoyed this from start to finish, there are some minor plot holes, but not so bad as to ruin my enjoyment. It is well paced, some may find it slow, but I like the fact that time had been taken over the cinematography and the direction helps to build up tension. Patrick Hughes has done a great job, and as he wrote it too, this has obviously been a labour of love. This is not an all action shoot em up, but is a very watchable, well made film and praise should go to Screen Australia too for co funding, I hope Mr Hughes does not take too long for his next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2011
Format: DVD
"Red Hill" is a modern-day take on the Western genre. There is also an allegorical element to the familiar revenge story and cardboard characters (including a mysterious panther). And perhaps a political angle, too. I think I know these things, but to me "Red Hill" is just another so-so action movie with lots of clichés.

The film starts slowly with a young police officer Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten), who has just relocated to a quiet town of Red Hill with his loving wife Alice (Claire van der Boom) - quiet until Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis), a prisoner serving a life term for murder breaks out of a maximum security prison. Apparently Jimmy Conway is heading for Red Hill, where police officers and townspeople are ready to gun down the escaped convict.

Acting is good and Ryan Kwanten is effective as a likable hero, but it is Steve Bisley as Old Bill, head of the police force, who steals the show. To his credit, writer/director Patrick Hughes (his feature debut) managed to create some tension in action scenes.

But the storyline is predicable, borrowing every narrative device you can think of from other Western movies or crime thrillers. You can see the underwhelming climax from miles away. This might not have been a big problem if the film had been directed with more confidence. Sometimes "Red Hill" does not know what it want to do - embrace the conventions or reinvent them. Also, I frankly don't know what the film's weird subplot about a panther is all about.

This is not to say "Red Hill" is a bad film. It is just disappointingly weak.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
Format: DVD
Red Hill is a modern day Aussie Western with a somewhat multilayered storyline.

The film is weakened however by poor filming and shot selection i.e. it felt like the cameras shot drama rather than an action piece, with slow movement my main objection. There was also a lack of polish, as the burn scars makeup on the escaped Aboriginal convict looked cheap and unconvincing. The film budget presented as thin, and some of the actors looked out of place performing action genre.

I did find myself entertained with some clever scenes though, in particular some diversionary tactics used by the escaped convict during a few shootouts.

This isn't an Australian film I would recommend watching, as it reminds me of many bad Aussie films from the 1970s and 1980s. But it does have some strength to it, which includes twists in the narrative.

Nicholas R.W. Henning - Australian Author
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
It was a very fun movie, although it had some corny movie tropes and a main character that was a dummy time and time again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Either that was one tiny town or everyone not on the hit list sure knew where to hide! And I'm not entirely certain why they needed an extra constable in the first place, especially one who can't keep track of his gun. Regardless, not bad, if not a little too obvious, action flick. It doesn't quite rise to classic status. Not really a western either. It was okay. I wouldn't bother watching it a second time though. Lovely vistas, I will give it that, kudos to the cinematographer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2011
Format: DVD
Modern day Western set in a rural town in Australia. A young Sheriff and his pregnant wife have moved to the town of Red Hill and no sooner than his first day on the job a notorious killer escapes from prison and comes to town, and Hell is coming with him. I really enjoyed this film and I have to say I really am liking the genre of "modern day Westerns". As I write this, my roommate is watching Transformers 3 and it makes me wish people would choose to watch more films like this that can hit you emotionally and make an impact on you. The thing is you have to go out and find them but it's worth the effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2011
Format: DVD
If you're in a western kind of mood, but want something more modern, this is a good choice. Set in Australia, it involves a newcomer taking on the job of deputy in a small town. He's treated like a unwanted kid for half the movie, but when the going gets tough, and corruption is revealed, the new kid turns into the Rambo of the bunch. A little slow in the middle but still worth the time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2011
Format: DVD
It's Shane Cooper's first day on the job as a deputy in a quiet Australian town. He came from a larger municipality where he'd been shot because he couldn't bring himself to draw down on the shooter who was just a young kid. Now things will be nicer for him and his wife who is pregnant a second time after miscarrying the first time. Problem is, a psycho killer has broken out of prison and his heading straight for this quite little hamlet to wipe out the entire police force.

This is a nifty flick. It has a way over-the-top setup established early on, so it's merely a question on how this will all play out. And therein lies the niftiness of it all. It makes a turn in the third act that takes it from being a psycho killer, slasher type flick to a more socially conscious, revenge type flick. I won't spoil things but let me say I liked this route much better than the one I expected to play out from the setup.

Some of the script is fairly clever. Some is a bit too supernatural killer-ish. That a big storm is brewing that never hits is a nice metaphor/backdrop to the story. I also liked that I was given some clues early on as to the switchback in the storyline that I didn't pick up on. It gave me a nice "ah hah" moment later on.

The acting and production values are all as good as they have to be to pull this off. It was very smooth and professional with a really good musical score. I liked the ending quite a bit. Too often these kinds of movies can drop the ball on the five yard line but I'm not sure this could have ended any other way.

This is a good, unexpected turn in what could have been a simple minded violent thriller. It's more a three and a half star entry than the three I gave it. So, if you like a new trick on an old dog, give this a shot. It's well worth your time.
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