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RED HILL
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Patrick Hughes

Starring:
Ryan Kwanten
Steve Bisley
Tom E. Lewis

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
On his first day as a policeman in a quiet town down under, a young man ends up dealing with a psychopath that has just broken out of a maximum security prison. Now, the entire town is on lock-down with a storm a-comin'.

Is it good movie?
Wow, my friends! This is one piece of tension-driving filmmaking that is nearly impossible to take your eyes off. A modern-day, western-style flick that packs a huge punch. Australian writer/director, Patrick Hughes has crafted a nearly flawless gem in terms of story-telling and true-grit intensity. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Australia knows cinema!

The story is so simple, yet connects on such a large physical and emotional level, you'd almost be shocked to learn it's basically a revenge picture. However, the manner with which this tale of vengeance unwinds features a fresh spin that is just so damn compelling. The violence is brutal, yet never too over-the-top to not seem real. The excellent score is spot on and really helps hammer home the proceedings. And the visuals and cinematography are just stunning.

Of course, none of these merits would mean much without a willing cast. Fortunately, this is where Hughes scores his highest marks. If you would, just briefly cast your eyes above at the three names mentioned under Starring and take note. Because all three absolutely owned and their names deserve to be committed to memory. Ryan Kwanten (who you may remember as the star of James Wan's DEAD SILENCE) is ideal as the new policeman with a past in town. He effortlessly goes from meek to tough through the progression of the events in the film and totally sells it. I absolutely loved Steve Bisley as the town's old, take-no-shit-from-nobody sheriff. Really great stuff! I've saved, however, the best for last. Tom E. Lewis is simply a f*cking revelation as the scarred psycho that has just busted out of prison. The man says more with a long stare than most can do with ten minutes of straight dialogue. Good thing too, because the dude basically says nothing through the flick! Every move, gesture, and expression that Lewis made just oozed bad-ass. Remarkable.

RED HILL is a modernized western, yet still packs the explosiveness of a full-on genre flick. The thrills come fast and keep you gripped for the entire ride. I never wanted to look away for a second. Even the subtle subplots ruled. I said before that this film was nearly flawless. I was wrong. Kindly do me a favor and forget about that nearly.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 1.78:1

Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital

The Extras
Was just a screener, so nada.

Last Call
RED HILL is the kind of independent genre-specific film that sets the bar in terms of top story-telling, acting, and direction. It thrills without ever resorting to anything cheap or cliche. The fresh take on the western outlaw revenge story was priceless. I can't recommend this flick enough.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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