{2jtab: Movie Review}

Red Hill - Blu-ray movie Review


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3 Stars

Frustrating is the word that comes to mind after sitting through this latest attempt to lift Australian cinema out of its doldrums, away from the usual indie-fair, and to a more mainstream, international audience.

Everything ingredient of this production had the potential to combine into a very noteworthy film: It had a star who’s international profile is on the rise (True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten); it had a decent budget (by Aussie standards) of 3 million; it had some esteemed Aussie thesps in supporting roles; talented behind the scenes folk and some unique and utterly breathtaking Australian landscapes.

Writer/producer/director Patrick Hughes unleashes what is essentially an Old West revenge plot, supplanted in Australia in modern times. A young constable (Kwanten) starts his first day in a remote Aussie town, finding some idiosyncratic characters from the outset, and expecting that to be the sum total of his day. But very quickly, he finds himself thrust into an escaped felon situation that is not all that appears to be. Injured and out of his element, it is up to the young cop to survive the night, as his new colleagues are picked off one by one at the hands of a mysterious and ruthless assailant, and to discover the truth behind these events.

Firstly, as a riff on a common tale, the only thing original that works is the setting. Modernizing it and setting in a country that is not the Old West works and works well. What doesn’t work, and becomes increasingly more difficult to forgive as the violence and body count rise, is the tone and writing. The characters are all clichéd archetypes, almost caricatures, seen a thousand times over. The twist in which this film hinges all its hopes on is so dark and emotional the rest of the film’s approach dismally fails to honour it. When the truth is revealed, after an hour and a bit of lip service to all the characters, nobody cares. Had the entire story been constructed to tonally build to this reveal, what an impressive film it could have been.

The actors all inhabit their roles well, and are some of the cream of the crop in Australian circles, but the characters they play are underdeveloped and it shows. Steve Bisley, who got his start around the same time as old buddy Mel Gibson—and is an equally respected actor in these parts—can’t even manage to elevate his one-note character, who telegraphs his true purpose long before the script does us the favour of acknowledging it.

Production value, especially on a budget that would see craft services through an American indie, is outstanding. There is some very impressive camera work from DP Tim Hudson, and some well executed (albeit incredulous) special effects and stunt work.

The score reinforces the script’s poor decision to treat the film too lightly, and makes some potentially tense moments ebb away emotionally.

Not a bad film by any stretch, but what a film it might have been with some more development and a solid, consistent tone agreed upon.


{2jtab: Film Info}

Red Hill - Blu-ray movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, and language.
: Patrick Hughes
: Patrick Hughes
Ryan Kwanten; Steve Bisley; Tommy Lewis; Claire van der Bloom
: Crime | Thriller | Western
Revenge just rode into town.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Either he's nosy, or he's an upstart looking for an easy promotion"
Strand Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date: November 5, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 25, 2011

Synopsis: Red Hill follows young police officer Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) as he relocates to the small country town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife Alice (Claire van der Boom) to start a family. But when news of a prison break sends the local law enforcement officers - led by the town's ruling presence, Old Bill (Steve Bisley) - into a panic, Shane's first day on duty rapidly turns into a nightmare. Enter Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis), a convicted murderer serving life behind bars, who has returned to the isolated outpost seeking revenge. Now caught in the middle of what will become a terrifying and bloody confrontation, Shane will be forced to take the law into his own hands if he is to survive.


{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

Red Hill - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

3 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 25, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (less)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live

At times superb, in brief moments underwhelming, this MPEG-4 encode shows of some impressive cinematography, but occasional soft focused shots and loss of detail in night scenes takes it down a peg. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio is first rate; every gunshot, punch, squelch of blood and sifting to the ground of gunpowder can be heard with perfect clarity. Special features are non-existent, bar some direct-to-DVD trailers.



  • None

Special Features:

  • None

BD-Live Functionality


{2jtab: Trailer}