Red Hill

24 Nov

Title: Red Hill
Patrick Hughes
Patrick Hughes
Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tom E. Lewis, Claire van der Boom
MPAA Rating:
R, strong bloody violence, and language
95 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:

Red Hill is a fantastic western set in Australia, and it’s also a thriller that unfolds over the course of a single day and that counts with impressive action pieces which are really violent in all their awesomeness, and that has a huge amount of suspense. Ryan Kwanten from True Blood ditches the Southern accent to don his real Australian here to play the main character. And he does a great job as Shane Cooper, a young police officer who relocates with his pregnant wife to the picturesque small town of Red Hill to start a family, but that ends up in the middle of a helluva lot of trouble. The result is really amazing, Red Hill is a tremendous film and the feature-length debut of writer-director Patrick Hughes, who I’ll be following very closely now.

I like it that all of Red Hill takes place in that one day, it meant the pacing of the film was going to be sublime, which it was, and as I’ve said in many other reviews, I like myself my violence served bloody in films, and the violence in here is just fun to watch because it’s bloody and because it never once feels gratuitous. The plot is fantastic, just as Shane gets to Red Hill thinking it’s just a small town in which he could peacefully raise his family in the future, and take care of his wife in the present who’s having troubles with her blood pressure, he finds out that Jimmy Conway, a very dangerous killer, has just escaped from a max-security prison.

This is obviously an homage to the western genre, it has all the stuff from all the cool westerns and it shows it proudly and loudly, and the action scenes I won’t get over because they’re beautifully made and shot. But this also works as a thriller, and a very effective one at that, and I love that about Red Hill, that it can combine those two genres so effectively because it tackles them at its core very simply. The western part of it is embodied by the clichés it represents and because it tells a very basic moral story, and the thriller is because it presents this sort of scary element to the killer that’s on the run, making his way back to town to tie up some loose ends.

There’s some social commentary here by Mr. Hughes, about some of the race issues aboriginal Australians may feel, and he’s seriously good at showing them within the context of his film. This is a really amazing debut from a filmmaker I will keep an eye on, the writing is tight, the direction is great, the editing is concise and perfectly to the point, and the cinematography exploits the beautiful landscape and the effective shadows. Just a well done film through and through, and a total surprise I’m seriously glad I got to find and watch.

Grade: B+


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