Red Hill is a strange one. Starring Ryan Kwanten (who rose to stardom with True Blood), it’s an old-fashioned, modern ‘Western’ of sorts set in rural Australia. It has a very simple (and may I say pretty predictable) plot, a scarred, ‘cliched’ villain, and it’s not particularly action-packed or fast-paced for the most part — and yet, for whatever reason, I really enjoyed it.
Kwanten is Shane Cooper, a big city constable who has just moved to Red Hill for “personal” reasons. Red Hill is exactly what you would expect from a tiny rural town in Australia, where just about everyone owns a farm and police still get around on horses. But Cooper is going to have one hell of a first day on the job, because Jimmy Conway (Tom E Lewis), a convicted murderer, just escaped from prison, and he’s heading back to Red Hill to cause havoc.
Written and directed by Patrick Hughes, Red Hill is a slick, well-made thriller that I liked a lot more than I probably should have. Naturally, being an Aussie film set in the countryside, there are many wide shots of the beautiful landscape, but Red Hill kept me intrigued because of Hughes’s handling of the brewing tension and unsettling mood.
There are lots of weaknesses with this film, which I suppose some may consider boring and silly at times, and despite the unoriginal plot, it felt like I had just seen something a little different, a little more unusual.
3.5 stars out of 5