Red Hill (2010) Directed by Patrick Hughes. With Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley and Tommy Lewis.
Writer and director Patrick Hughes’ first feature length release (he’s since been hired to direct The Expendables 3), is a modern day, revenge fuelled western set in the picturesque high country of Australia.
The film begins with some strikingly composed establishing shots of the natural landscape, which are used effectively to create a mood of impending danger. We’re then introduced to Shane Cooper, a young police officer on his first day, newly re-assigned to the remote town of Red Hill, a place with a dark past.
All the classic staples of the western are embraced in the early stages, and with the aid of some captivating photography, the film has a enough initial intrigue to keep us invested.
What ensues are some promising moments menace offset by key incidents of over stated cliché, that sadly undermine the well constructed first two thirds of the film. Red Hill is a long way from being a bad film, but it’s disappointing to see a talented director getting so sidetracked by the past, that his overall tone goes from riding very capably on it’s own merits, to a blunt ended pastiche of better films.
Early visual clues might give you the keys to the final act twist a little too early, as do many of the rather telegraphed plot points, which make for a formulaic experience, that while strikingly established, is all too keen to embrace the history of the western, than to carve out any of it’s own. 3/5