Red Hill


Red Hill

Written & Directed by Patrick Hughes



Ryan Kwanten

Steve Bisley

Tommy Lewis

Claire van der Boom

Kevin Harrington

Christopher Davis

Richard Sutherland


Theatrical: Hughes House, Screen Australia, Wildheart Films

Video: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: 23.98 GB

Feature Size: 22.19 GB

Avg. A+V Bit Rate: 30.34 Mbps

Runtime: 97.5 minutes

Chapters: 16

Region: xx


English DTS-HD MA 5.1


English & Spanish


BD Live


Amaray Blu-ray case: BRD x 1

Release Date: January 25, 2011



Do you miss old school revenge westerns and vintage gritty cop thrillers like I do? Where are the new High Plains Drifter's, or the modern day Report To The Commissioner's? Well pine no more, because Australian writer/director Patrick Hughes is riding over the hill, guns blazing, and lights flashing to save the day with his debut feature, Red Hill.  – Sean Smithson



NY Times:

When Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten of “True Blood”) arrives in the one-horse town of Red Hill as its newest police officer, he faces a doozy of a first day. A storm is brewing, a horse has been viciously disemboweled, and Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis), an Aboriginal killer, has just escaped from a nearby maximum-security prison. None of which is good news for Shane, whose pregnant wife’s blood pressure is already dangerously unstable.

As Conway, ferociously scarred within and without, heads toward town to settle old scores, the tension between Shane’s liberal values and the trigger-happy style of his colleagues tightens. Like the best westerns, “Red Hill” is a stripped-down morality tale; like the best horror movies, its true monsters remain cloaked until the final reel.  -  Jeannette Catsoulis



SF Chronicle:

The problem is that "Red Hill" seems assembled from prefabricated pieces. Rehashing the cliches from several beaten-to-death movie categories doesn't add up to much. As for the acting, it's what you generally get in genre movies, varying between thin and overwrought. – Walter Addiego


The Score Card

Movie: 7

Reviews are indeed mixed for this Australian movie from first time director Patrick Hughes.  I fall out somewhere in the middle: I like Hughes the writer and his basic story, familiar, concise, irony-free, smartly photographed and, for the most part, sensibly scored.  But Hughes the director seems a bit at odds with his own script, lingering too long on shots whose emotional tension has not yet been set up.  When the camera follows an impassive Jimmy Conway as he walks through the sheriff’s office hunting his prey, we have no sympathy either way.  This could be a simple slasher movie for all we know.  This motif is repeated throughout the film in the visuals while the script gradually lets out its secret.  It doesn’t matter that we may have guessed what that truth is, it only matters that the direction doesn’t always support it until the last moment, which is a grabber whther you’ve anticipated it or not.  It probably doesn’t help either that Tom E. Lewis never alters his expression (made all the more inflexible by a prosthesis).  We understand why Hughes makes this choice, but it is less clear why he belabors it.



Hughes leaves no cinematic idea unspoken: there’s a bit with a mystical panther that may have resonance with Australian aborigines but for me it comes and goes from nowhere. Then there’s our hero, Shane Cooper, who should have bled out halfway through the movie, given everything Hughes asks him to do.  A little would have gone a long way here.



Image : 9/9

Sony’s makes use of nearly every byte of its single-layered disc using a solid bit rate to accomplish an equally solid, slightly grainy, filmlike presentation without any glaring transfer problems. Color and contrast is naturalistic, with some close-ups so sweet you feel that they’re right there without any heightened sense of presence. Blacks at times swallow up detail, but do not detract from the story or mood.



Audio & Music : 8/7

Hughes chooses a naturalistic approach to effects (gunshots, lightning, whistling wind, crackling fire, a horse galloping) than we would typically find in a thriller, which is a good thing since his movie is more a 1950s Hollywood Western than a 1990s horror flic.  Sony leaves that intention untouched, without exaggeration, and mixes its effects in proportion to clearly articulated dialogue and music of varying size and shape.  The surrounds are brought to play in subtle but engaging ways as, for example, the muffled chatter of a police radio is placed in exactly the right distance from the central action.  There’s little profound bass here, but that, I think, is as it should be.



Extras : 1

A few previews in HD and a link to BD Live is all we get here.


Recommendation : 7

If you’re in the mood for a good western, set in some unusual country, and spoken in an unfamiliar dialect, then Red Hill might be for you.  I should think it would make for a satisfying rental at least.  This is a new Ryan Kwanten here - he may not nearly as interesting or dynamic as he is on True Blood but that’s the “fault” of his character not his acting.  The ending is worth the price of admission in any case.




Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

January 30, 2011

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