Film review – Red Hill (2010)

Red Hill: Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten)
Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten)

Starting a new job is always tough but on his first day on the local force in a small country town, police officer Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) has to contend with his hostile boss Old Bill (Steve Bisley) and the imminent arrival of a very angry and very well armed escaped convict.

Red Hill is an Australian action indebted to the films of spaghetti western maestro Sergio Leone and writer/director Patrick Hughes has done a marvellous job adapting the iconography of the western to a rural Australian setting. Casting The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith lead actor Tom E. Lewis as the avenging outlaw is an interesting choice that allows Hughes to touch on issues concerning crimes against Indigenous people.

Tonally Red Hill sometimes slips awkwardly between gritty revenge thriller and something a little more self-consciously comedic with one unnecessary element that appears late in the film feeling very out of place. While the early action scenes are extremely tense and exciting, Red Hill does eventually become a slightly generic series of scenes featuring people getting blown away. Nevertheless, this is a fun film that introduces Hughes as a director to look out for.

Listen to Thomas Caldwell’s interview with writer/director Patrick Hughes.

Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 368, 2010

© Thomas Caldwell, 2010

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