2010 Australian thriller: Red Hill
This was the official website for the 2010 Australian thriller, Red Hill.
Content is from the site's 2010 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.
Red Hill- Official Traile
Directed by Patrick Hughes. Starring Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tommy Lewis. Red Hill -- A young police officer must survive his first day's duty in a small country town.
Young police officer Shane Cooper relocates to the small country town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife Alice to start a family. When news of a prison break by Jimmy Conway, a convicted murderer serving life behind bars, sends the local law enforcement officers into a panic, Shane's first day on duty rapidly turns into a nightmare. Jimmy Conway returns to the isolated outpost of Red Hill seeking revenge. 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. Red Hill is a taut thriller which unfolds over the course of a single day and night. It is told with explosive action and chilling violence. Red Hill is a modern-day western played out against the extraordinary landscapes of high-country Australia.
Red Hill. 2010.
Directed & Written by Patrick Hughes.
Starring Ryan Kwanten, Tommy Lewis, Steve Bisley, Claire van der Boom, Christopher Davis, Kevin Harrington, Richard Sutherland, John Brumpton, Eddie Baroo, & Tim Hughes.
Wildheart Films/Hughes House Film/Screen Australia
Rated R. 95 minutes.
"In college, my frat had a thing for this film and we had "Red Hill Nights" periodically where we'd all get drunk and watch this film together and call that a party. But we also had a ritual that went along with the viewing that included everyone wearing a Batman shirt of some kind. The rule was wear a Batman shirt or go naked. I remember already having a Batman logo t shirt, so unlike most of the bros, I didn't have to go buy one. But on one Red Hill night, someone stole my Batman shirt. So I went naked and strangely didn't see my shirt being worn. Later that night I got the website for a store that has a great selection of Batman t shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies. I'm buying at least one backup shirt and hiding it because I'm never going naked again. Because of these viewings, I know this film like no other. I can repeat dialog and sound effects verbatim. I know all the actors and when the best scenes are about to happen. And I still love to watch this film!" Rubin Bateman
Tomatometer CRITICS 79% | AUDIENCE 57%
RottenTomatoes CRITICS Reviews
Red Hill — review
Jun 14, 2011
Philip French Guardian Top Critic
Ryan Kwanten as Shane Cooper in Red Hill.
The Australian film historian Brian McFarlane coined the term "wallaby western" to describe Down Under action movies influenced by the American frontier genre. One of the finest examples is Fred Schepisi's 1978 version of the Thomas Keneally novel The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, starring Tommy Lewis as an early 20th century aboriginal lad divorced from his culture, humiliated, driven to murder and hunted across the outback. Now more than 30 years later and styling himself Tom E Lewis, its leading actor is back in an Australian revenge movie modelled on High Noon, featuring some magnificent scenery and both horses and cars – but no wallabies.
A young new police constable receives a dusty welcome when he arrives in the eponymous dying township of Red Hill the very day a notorious aboriginal murderer, Jimmy Conway (Lewis), escapes from jail to seek vengeance on the police chief and other locals who helped put him away. He's an ace gunslinger, a brilliant tracker, a remorseless force of nature with a face disfigured by fire, and over the next 15 hours or so he fights a running battle with a local posse. But is he a brutal psychopath like the killer in the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, or the victim of injustice like the avenger in High Plains Drifter? The movie is extremely well staged and the young hero's dramatic lineage is established by his resonant name – Shane Cooper.
Red Hill — review
May 12, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
Cath Clarke Guardian Top Critic
Jimmy Conway in Red Hill.
Acop turns cowboy in this lean, somewhat humourless Australian western homage which owes a debt to the Coen's No Country for Old Men; it's as violent, but not nearly dark enough. The cop (True Blood's Ryan Kwanten) is a wet-behind-the-ears blow-in from the city whose first day in the sticks coincides with a prison breakout. It's a pity, but suspense heads to the hills after one too many protracted shoot-outs. Otherwise, what an effective calling card for debut writer-director Patrick Hughes this is – if not for the Australian tourist board.
RED HILL: Revising the Colonial Western
**** 1/2 By: Father Gore | https://fathersonholygore.com
The Western genre has been plagued for decades by colonial attitudes. The most famous Westerns and some of their stars have taken awful stances on Native Americans, as well as black people. Later movies in the genre began to work against old conventions and tropes, particularly some Spaghetti Westerns. Yet so many of the genre’s titles, even supposedly great ones, have been marred by the damaging Othering of people of colour, in favour of the cowboys – the white man – being hailed as hero.
Red Hill is a postmodern Australian Western. Like America, the Outback has its own set of colonial issues concerning Indigenous Australians. The movie subverts conventions and tropes of the genre in order to condemn colonisation, both in real life and also in Western fiction. Even better, one of the main roles is played by Jimmy Lewis— his first role in a feature was as the titular role in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, a 1978 Australian production about many of the same issues as Red Hill.
Revenge isn’t a new topic for the Western, it’s a plot we see recycled frequently. Director-writer Patrick Hughes uses the typical revenge story in such a way he’s able to shift our perceptions of good v. bad. Not just that, the age old trope of Cowboys and Indians is transformed into a vessel for the rage of Indigenous people who’ve been colonised and mistreated since the day the British set foot in Australia.
The scariest part of Red Hill is it was made in 2010, and it was so prescient about where white attitudes were headed. Not saying there was no racism prior to this movie’s release, that’s ridiculous— it’s undeniable over the past decade racism has become more prevalent than ever despite our insistence global society’s changing its old ways. There’s a glaring hypocrisy in the attitudes of certain white characters in the movie that rings so true about real life whites: they have no time for Indigenous Australians trying to preserve land, they come in bulldozing traditional values and sacred ground, and then they’re upset when a “city boy” like Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) moves in from the city unaware of how things work in their tiny town. Just like today, white Americans/Australians(etc) complain about immigrants coming into their country, when they themselves were the original immigrants.
It’s from this colonial perspective which Red Hill works best. Later, as secrets are revealed, we discover white indifference and capitalist greed led to the plot’s violent events. Jimmy Conway (Lewis) was trying to protect the natural landscape and Indigenous space of high country Australia. When he stopped a big land development, preventing new economic growth in Red Hill, the white men – led by the law – got together a posse and took misguided revenge on him, during which he killed some men. This put Jimmy in jail, then years later he breaks out for his own revenge.
Hughes explores many of the effects of white capitalist greed. For instance, it’s obvious Jimmy experiences the worst effects, but Cooper’s an example of a white men, guilty by association, who nearly gets fatally caught in the web of deceit his new colleagues spun long before his arrival. Red Hill does good by not making Cooper into a white saviour— he does try to aid Jimmy in getting revenge, though in the end this doesn’t go as planned, and Jimmy’s never once seen as a passive character in need of saving.
“We’d be having a different conversation if you were dead”
Hughes’s screenplay smartly works to revise the Western in an effort to expose colonial attitudes underpinning the genre. The typical Western decades ago was characterised by good v. bad, usually represented in the Cowboy as a good archetype, even if they were an outlaw, and the Indian usually referred to derogatorily as savage, uncivilised, and representative of the bad.
Maybe the best scene in this regard is one in the bar, where Jimmy’s hunting down those responsible for ravaging and killing his wife. Not only is the whole thing cool as shit – he pops some Stevie Wright on the jukebox – Jimmy literally dresses himself in the getup of a cowboy, embodying the typical colonial character and subverting it to his own uses. This is such a significant piece of symbolism: Jimmy sheds his villain skin – the one given to him by the conventions of the Western – and becomes the rightful hero. If we didn’t see it fully before, this symbolic transformation shows us who’s really on what side of the good-bad binary.
Another significant, subtle bit of writing is the naming of Steve Bisley’s character, Old Bill. The term Old Bill originates from the UK, as an informal name for the police. With the themes working against colonial attitudes, Red Hill makes a statement with this name alone. Bill is at the core of what happened to Jimmy, and his name being Old Bill specifically makes those themes heavier. He’s the epitome of a violent colonialism that’s thrived in Australia. Bill would be right at home alongside the MAGA-heads in America, with his refusal to see a time before his vision of Australia and his “sense of pride” in the colonial past. A subplot in the movie concerns a rural Australian legend of a panther loose from a travelling circus roaming the countryside to this day. When Cooper talks to Bill about this in regards to some dead cattle, the latter replies: “This is Australia, mate. Not fucking Africa.” It seems a throwaway line. But it’s a revealing moment about Old Bill and his thoughts on what is or isn’t ‘foreign’ to Australia. Worthy of classification as a Freudian slip.
“He wanted to be a hero. And for what? Bones in the fucking dirt!”
Not to rag on anybody else’s taste in movies— I desperately wish Patrick Hughes were still telling stories like this, as opposed to The Expendables 3 or The Hitman’s Bodyguard. In a day and age where so many white storytellers are either straight up telling Indigenous stories, or making Indigenous stories into yawn-worthy stories of white saviours, there’s something to be said for a movie such as Red Hill. Hughes could’ve easily gone a totally different route. Instead he makes a smart movie with a strong message, all the while employing Western imagery we recognise to turn the genre into a vehicle for telling important stories that require telling.
The ending doesn’t exactly provide catharsis. Jimmy gets revenge, then winds up gunned down anyway. Ultimately, Red Hill shows us how white capitalist greed and colonial attitudes more often than not lead a society into violence, and then violence begets violence begets more violence in an endless cycle of assault and revenge. Jimmy is justified in his quest to find bloody retribution. That doesn’t change the fact that, were white people to choose not invading the cultural and physical spaces of Indigenous peoples, this violence might never have happened. We shouldn’t need fiction to teach these lessons. When the history books are lagging behind, it’s up to artists and storytellers to get the job done.
'Red Hill' review: Aussie thriller hurt by cliches
By Walter Addiego | Friday, December 31, 2010 | www.sfgate.com
Thriller. Written and directed by Patrick Hughes. With Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tom E. Lewis.
"Red Hill" is mainly of interest as an oddball assemblage - take a spaghetti Western, cross it with a splatter movie and throw in a little "No Country for Old Men," and you have this Australian thriller, the first feature from writer-director Patrick Hughes.
Ryan Kwanten (HBO's "True Blood") plays a young cop, with the not particularly subtle name of Shane, who has just moved with his pregnant wife to the small rural town of Red Hill - and like all small towns in movies like this, Red Hill has a sinister secret. The cop's boss is Old Bill (Steve Bisley), a tough hombre with a serious humor deficiency.
RottenTomatoes AUDIENCE Reviews
Roy Hector K
Aug 01, 2011
This is an Australian film production, just surprised as I thought it was a Hollywood production. The movie started out slow in the first 20 minutes, interest is only sustained by the beautiful scenery, and the glimpse into a rural Australian town. Its almost like the old west, except for signs of modern technological gadgets lying around like two-way radios, etc. Things start picking up when news of a escaped fugitive started coming out. The villain is interesting, a mysterious, disfigured individual out for revenge. But then things started to drag out again a bit. I think the movie could've gone with a little bit tighter editing, never mind if it ends up shorter the 90 minutes this film ended up with. The plot is a bit cliched, though the Director did a fantastic job of building up the suspense for a good number of scenes in the movie. The movie was good enough to watch, though nothing really special overall, just sort of like average.
**** Col S
Jul 30, 2011
Australian made little gem of a movie...a convicted murderer escapes from jail to take revenge on the town of Red Hill who sent him to jail...........
*** Jonathan B
Jul 28, 2011
Thinking this was a period western set in the Australian outback, I was pleasantly suprised to find that this genre re-working is set in the present day. Was really impressed by what the film makers delivered on such a small budget and should be seen by anyone trying to make a genre feature on not much cash. Very stylish in visuals and pacing. However I do feel it would have benefitted from a better edit and script development. The nods to the Western generic conventions were a little bit heavy handed and could have been done with toning down abit, but on the whole there is a lot to admire here.
**** Alex B
Jul 24, 2011
Oh hey there Australian cinema. While Animal Kingdom is widely considered to be the greatest Australian film of our generation (perhaps of all time) I haven't felt chills down my spine like this since Wolf Creek. Can only be described as expertly crafted, and while it is steeped in cliche, that cliche is being perfectly delivered.
*** Colin H
Jul 23, 2011
Enjoyable but I only saw Jason Stackhouse - sorry, Ryan.
**** Paul P
Jul 17, 2011
Excellent modern day western. Its been a while since I have seen a film that has a story to tell and wastes no time in doing just that, Red Hill is one of those films. The casting is also unformly solid, with Jason Stackhouse himself (Ryan Kwanten) doing a grand job as our hero who has to face off against an escaped prisoner intent on taking out the town's police force. It was great to see that Steve Bisley is still around too, playing a major role in the proceedings. The story itself is engrossing and the story is told with a swift efficiency. It's also a very taut and gripping experience, with a genuinely imposing bad guy. A terrific little film with solid casting and direction.
**** ½ Jesse B
Jul 16, 2011
Aussie cinema rules, well-done westerns rule, and violence in movies rule. Check this out. Can't talk about it much, wait for something on The Liberal Dead.
*** ½ Tom H
Jul 11, 2011
A good modern day Western. Nothing original, it is even very predictable. But i thought it was one hell of an entertaining film.
*** ½ Stephen C
Jul 06, 2011
Taut modern western from Australia which knocks most US thrillers into a cocked hat. Shane Conway has been assinged to the small semmingly quiet town of Red Hill where nothing seems to happen apart from the local Sherrif (Steve Bisley excellent) swearing at town meetings. Things take a turn for the nasty though when Jimmy Conway an Aboringinal tracker escapes from prison to wreck his brutal revenge. What follows is a gripping thriller as Conway picks off the menfolk and we learn more and more about his past. Director Patrick Hughes keeps the tone the right ride of eerie and RYan Kwanten delivers a good performance as Shane Cooper. The film never outstays its welcome and i enjoyed every second of its twisty dark plot. A neat ozzie gem
**** Timothy A
Dec 04, 2010
Straightforward, yet taut and gripping. Apart from a couple of moments where convention well and truly gives over to cliche and one very unfortunate lapse of good sense, about as effective a melding of the revenge thriller and the western as you could hope for in the antipodes.
**** ½ Stu J
Dec 04, 2010
The first feature film from writer/director/producer/editor, Patrick Hughes, Red Hill is a melding of American western and American slasher horror recast to the Australian outback (does that makes this a "meat pie western"?) Taking a much lighter tone than John Hillcoat's hefty take on the western (The Proposition), Hughes imbues his film with a healthy foundation of humour and follows the more traditional western narrative of a vengeful lone gunslinger wreaking havoc on the corrupt lawmen of a small backwater town. Hughes could so easily have created another tired analogy of the white guy's oppression of the black guy but Red Hill admirably avoids such preachiness. Sure, there is a serious moral undertone to the film pertaining to racism, but the narrative is not a slave to it. There are multiple logical flaws scattered throughout the film but this is nitpicking as it aligns with its paranormal slasher element which so obviously permeates the film. Red Hill doesn't ask to be taken seriously and nor should we, rather we should sit back and enjoy the ride and appreciate its underlying subtle humour, its skewed western caricatures and overt cartoon violence. Veteran Aboriginal actor, Tom Lewis is a suitably menacing villain; part Leatherface, part Jimmy Blacksmith (a part he made his own in Fred Schepisi's 1978 film), part anti-Eastwood lone gunslinger - silent, slow moving, hideously scarred both physically and emotionally. (A Wolf Creek western, perhaps? It is executively produced by Greg McLean after all.) When Lewis utters his single line of dialogue, it's a good one which carries significant emotional weight, given all the more poignance by the character's deadly silence throughout the film. Steve Bisley is great, delivering a character every bit as iconic as the Goose from Mad Max. Ryan Kwanten is strangely inconsequential as the films hero (spending most of his time being dragged from town and then trekking back to it - one of the many subtly humorous elements of the film) but he doesn't embarrass himself. The production is also strangely devoid of women. Claire van der Boom's brief interlude does, however, break up the carnage and silliness with some welcome heart-warming humanity. Patrick Hughes has achieved something seemingly intangible with Red Hill. His creation has the look of an independent Aussie film with the spanning vista of a classic western. It is at once a small movie and a big movie nicely realised right down to the magnificently ambiguous scale of its final shot of a panther perched upon a rocky outcrop (or is that a colossal panther astride a mountain range - it's hard to tell). He has created a movie about indigenous disadvantage that is not overtly moralistic and has turned the traditional western on its head. Good things things will come from Hughes in the future.
*** ½ Kasey T
Dec 04, 2010
Ryan Kwanten is cool
** ½ William T
Dec 04, 2010
You spend most of the movie trying to figure out if you rooting for the cops or the gunman, along with a town full of wimps which leaves you laughing* at their demise instead of caring, over all it has a serious story goal but for me it was kinda lost on me at the end... No I didn't hate it, I was entertained, but it could have definatly been better. +1 for adding the (real) wild panther mythology into the story * literally the whole theater laughed while one towns man was shot down.
** ½ Ryuji K
Dec 03, 2010
I guess this film is OK. It didn't really leave anything after though. Nothing special.
** ½ Jamie B
Dec 01, 2010
G'day Bruce. Some of the scipt is cringeworthy but the film is surprisingly good. Decent, if predictable, story that links together to a satisfactory conclusion. Time to chuck a yabby on the barbie...
** Anil K
Nov 30, 2010
typical australian phrases and accent....
**** Darren G
Nov 30, 2010
'Red Hill' is an engrossing modern-day western set in rural Australia. Although nothing new in terms of story, 'Red Hill' tells its grim tale of justice and revenge with powerful mood and style.
*** ½ Kelly M
Nov 30, 2010
abby wanted to see this because the guy from True blood is in it. It turns out it is another great aussie movie. That is three in a row for me: Animal Kingdom, The Loved Ones and this movie are all out of Australia and are worth a look.