Director: Patrick Hughes
Whilst this film hasn’t quite made my Top 100, I grew quite conscious of the fact that Mad Max is the only Australian inclusion on the list. Red Hill is very little seen and one of my favourite Aussie flicks, and therefore deserves a mention.
Australia finally gives us the kind of film we’re looking for and no one saw it, further illustrating the problem with our film industry.
I’m not denying that there’s a lot of great product coming from our shores but for those of us who champion genre filmmaking, Red Hill is one of Australia’s finest. Red Hill is one of those films, like Star Trek (2009), that hit all the right buttons. It’s a contemporary Australian Western which delivers us the thrills and intensity akin to No Country For Old Men (2007) and displays the kind of stylised direction seen in the works of Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino. I got more out of this film than both of the Cohen’s recent western efforts, No Country… and True Grit (2010), though it may not be quite as well written or performed, it is certainly more evocative and entertaining. Red Hill may be cheeky with its post-modern self awareness and tongue-in-cheek nods to the Western genre, but it remains a story to be taken seriously with unique subject matter that brings it closer to the more dramatic works of Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Reservoir Dogs (1992), than Edgar Wright’s comedies.
The film’s grasp of the Western genre, stylised direction, thrilling story and hot performances make it universally enjoyable. It does not contain any of the elements that people hate about most Aussie films, i.e drug addicts, horrible accents, lame humour and kitchen sinks. It does not however, pretend that it’s NOT Australian. The story and characters are 100% pure Aussie beef! Ryan ‘Sex On Two Legs’ Kwanten plays the film’s young protagonist; he’s my ‘All Australian Hero’. Look at the picture above, don’t you wanna just lick the rain off his face?
Really, it’s the film’s subject matter that makes Red Hill a true national sign post. Without spoiling the plot, the film explores what happens when an escaped Aboriginal convict, played with great mystique by Tom E. Lewis, starts gunning down the coppers of the town. Indigenous culture is a significant part of Australia’s history and Red Hill manages to handle this subject matter with great sophistication by weaving it seamlessly into a traditional Western storyline.
I suspect that the reason nobody saw Red Hill is because they didn’t know it existed due to the film’s small marketing budget. Everybody who’s anybody SHOULD see Red Hill, it’s a slick, simple action/thriller for those looking for some quick thrills, and a deliciously stylised Aussie Western for all you film geeks looking for your next hit.