Film Review: Red Hill (2010)

Karen McTackett By Karen McTackett, 19th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Thriller

Red Hill is an Australian made Thriller/Western produced in 2010 with a strong cast under the guidance of Director Patrick Hughes. This is a review of the film.

Spoiler FREE Plot Overview

Shane Cooper has moved from “the big smoke” to the seemingly sleepy town of Red Hill to escape the stressful pressures of the city cop life for himself and his pregnant wife. It is a small town, one road leads in and one road leads out. A single sign directs what few visitors they would expect through their little town to all those places of importance and interest; the information centre, the police station, and the community hall. There is not much to be said of Red Hill, but of course, there is a past and Shane enters his new work place as that past is in the first stages of unraveling.

An escaped convict, accused of killing a Red Hill police officer, has escaped from his gaol confines and the town immediately goes into self-protection mode. They know he is coming for them and they will be prepared to take him down. The audience cannot be lost on the fact that this is an extreme reaction as several of the townsfolk are armed with shotguns and rifles and sent to postings covering all of the possible routes into town that a man on foot might take. This sets in motion the events that easily carry this film through its 95 minutes.

A Fantastic Australian Cast

Ryan Kwantan is a well known face appearing in the highly popular vampire series from America, True Blood. It is comforting and impressive to see him return to his homeland of Australia to offer his talent for subtlety to the screen in the role of Shane Cooper. Tommy Lewis (billed as Tom E. Lewis) is another known Australia actor although it is sad to say that his name is not as well known as Kwantan's despite his extremely ample list of credits including the Australian classic, “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith” and The Flying Doctors. Perhaps he too needed to do a stint on Home and Away to achieve notoriety in his homeland.

Lewis is one of Australian’s leading actors with an aboriginal background and his performance in Red Hill is spectacular. His dialogue consists of one single line so his character is presented through his cold but pleading eyes and he brings the character of Jimmy to life as a man with a story. Steve Bisley is always brilliant as the Aussie expected of Americans – loud, to the point, and speaking with such a countryside overtone that it is hard not to love even the rough exterior of Old Bill.

Style and Setting

Patrick Hughes has directed this film with the right level of empathy and truth. As the story unravels and roles of antagonists and protagonists become intertwined and confused (aside from the main character of Shane), the audience develops a sense of empathy for characters on both sides of the fight at different levels of depth.

The story is set in the fictitious town of Red Hill and has been dubbed a western. To any small country town people in Australia, this might be somewhat offensive as the setting of Omeo in Gippsland, Victoria, is not unlike any small country town throughout Australia. Old buildings offer a sense of community and horses are not as much a rarity as the genre of western would have the viewer believe; however, the setting is brilliant for the style of action. Perhaps the genre of western is apt due to the rampant gun-slinging and unabated brutality that is definitely not the usual occurrence in a small country town.

My Final Thoughts

Red Hill is a marvelous combination of great Australian actors, homely wilderness, indigenous injustice without flogging a dead a horse, and dialogue that lends humour and is not used just for the sake of filling in time. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would happily watch it again.

Other Reviews by Porle Joen

Music Review:
* The Red Paintings: The Revolution is Never Coming


Australia, Film, Film Actors, Film Review, Film Star, Films, Movie, Movie Review, Movie Reviews, Movie Stars, Movies, Movies Film Thrillers, Patrick Hughes, Ryan Kwantan, Steve Bisley, Thriller, Thrillers, Victoria, Western, Westerns

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author avatar Karen McTackett
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