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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Red Hill (2010)

Ever wondered what happened to Greg McLean? You know, the man who made Wolf Creek and Rogue? He's been quiet for a few years now, but not as quiet ad first though, as he's been busy living-it up as a producer on this little gem, Red Hill. For that Greg, I thank you. Patrick Hughes directorial debut is a beast of beauty and is one of the very best films to see a release in 2010. That's not something I say lightly either, as this has been a very good year for us film fans.

Shane Cooper has just been relocated from the big city to the small town of Red Hill in hopes to reduce his wife's blood pressure and aide their pregnancy. His first day starts smoothly enough, attending a farmer whose horse has been attacked by a wild animal... run-of-the-mill country stuff. When news breaks of a jail-break and that ex-local, Jimmy Conway, has escaped; the day is about to take a drastic turn for the worse. The town's police department are scared shitless and it soon becomes clear why, Conway is a killing  machine and he's coming back home to finish something that was started years previous.

What is so enjoyable about Red Hill is it's not trying to wow you or impress you with mind-bending story structure or even good old spectacle. No, Red Hill is a good ol' fashioned Western that's a pleasure to watch play out. The story is a simple one, timeless even, a fish-out-of-water caper that's a little darker than most, but still undeniably fun. Ryan Kwanten proves a highly likeable lead and gives a great performance; and he's backed-up brilliantly by Tommy Lewis and the murderous Conway. He's a frightening figure to be sure, but there's something in his eyes, beyond his disfigured face that leaves you siding with him at times. Especially when Shane's workmates are as dickish as some here!

Director Hughes takes full advantage of the Australian outback and it's gorgeous surroundings, giving us a beautifully photographed film as well as some fine set-pieces to match anything in a Hollywood blockbuster; with mid-street shoot-outs, car chases and 'slasher-esque' chase downs littered throughout the films duration. Placing these events in a modern frontier-like town is a brilliant touch, making what has been scene thousands of times previously fresh and exciting. This is where Red Hill truly impresses. Nothing is original about this film, but that doesn't stop it from being entertaining. This is unmissable stuff to be sure, and marks Ryan Kwanten as a future Hollywood lead, as well as a promising new director. On top of that it shows us that Greg McLean as a great eye for a worthwhile script and has a great sense for talent from his producers chair!

Australia has had a cracking year, producing some of the finest films of 2010. Let's hope they continue this incline and explode in 2011, for fans of balls-to-the-wall goodness, Red Hill is a must see. It's not big, it's not even clever, but it is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish – which is something rare indeed with modern action films.  Do yourselves a favor and see this as soon as you can, then tell your friends about it. Recommended viewing to be sure!

Red Hill is due out on DVD and Blu-ray on the 25th January 2011 from Sony Pictures US.
There is no UK release date as of yet.

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