"Red Hill does not innovate but has a good time getting to its final showdown"
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Patrick Hughes
Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley and Tom E. Lewis
Tagline: Revenge just rode into town.
It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold and for Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis) a recently escaped convict who murdered his wife and several other local officers in the small Australian town of Red Hill, this is an understatement. Conway returns to Red Hill "bringing hell with him" seeking revenge for those who put him away and scarred his face in a terrible fire. Unfortunately for Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten), a constable who moved from the city to take care of his pregnant wife, his first day on the job is going to be the worst day of his life. The Inspector and superior officer who apprehended Conway, Old Bill (Steve Bisley) knows exactly what they are up against and enlist several local civilians to secure Red Hill. Things go badly almost immediately.
This is a typical action thriller with all the clichés you would expect. Conway is a sharp shooter when it comes to the supporting cast but seems to miss every shot when dealing with the main protagonist. Furthermore, every deputized civilian, while having Conway in their sights do not take their shots and wait for Conway to stare them down (in a very sinister manner) and then murder them. This is not a realistic action film but it is a fun movie all the same and the action is intense.
The acting is top notch for this type of indie Australian film. Cooper is the typical new guy with doe eyes that is initially not able to pull the trigger even as he has his man lined up. As the bodies' mount Cooper becomes painfully aware of the situation he is now facing. OId Bill is the salty, tough as nails inspector and the most impressive character (should be no surprise) is Conway who while remaining mostly silent conveys more emotion through his gestures and face expression than many actors could conjure up with a life time in the Hollywood system. I have an unabashed love affair with Australian movies.
The music is very organic and sets the tone while illuminating the country setting that Red Hill takes place with lazy strum guitar with a healthy dose of moody violin. The music highlights this setting which is integral to the film and adds quite a bit of texture. In fact, the countryside itself soon becomes the fourth major character in the movie and is shot beautifully, capturing the majesty of the rough Australian countryside. The Sound editing however, leaves something to be desired. Every gun blast, weather sawed off shotgun or .45 caliber pistol sound weak and distant. This however is easy to overlook as the cinematography is top notch. This movie looks beautiful.
The movie does not innovate but has a good time getting to its final showdown. The story is simple enough but is held aloft by its excellent script and interesting characters. A few twists which aren't hard to see coming yes feel natural and unstrained lift this movie above its peers. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in a solid moody action thriller with a simple narrative.