Movie Review: Red Hill (2010)
“Revenge just rode into town.”
Red Hill (2010)
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tommy Lewis
Synopsis: A town’s new police officer must deal with an escaped convict intent on exacting revenge on the sheriff who put him away.
WARNING! This review contains SPOILERS!
The new sheriff of a remote, sleepy town finds himself finds himself facing a murderous rampage by a convict intent on exacting revenge on the sheriff who put him away. Sounds like something from a 1950s Hollywood B-western, doesn’t it? But Red Hill is actually set in modern day Australia, mate. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with updating an old genre – as long as you can assimilate its tropes with the everyday facts of modern day life. Back in the 1800s a sheriff would find himself at the mercy of that vengeful outlaw because help was a three day ride away across hostile Indian territory. In the sleepy town of Red Hill, satellite TV’s blanket coverage of the escape informs the residents of Red Hill that Jimmy Conway, who, with his burned face, looks like a distant cousin to Freddie Kreuger, has escaped, but doesn’t send reporters to his home town to gauge its public’s reaction. Likewise, the national police don’t think to provide a little back-up for the town just in case Jimmy decides to take a trip down memory lane – or wonder why it’s all gone quiet over there a day or two after Jimmy escapes…
Red Hill gets plenty of effective mileage out of the Western theme – at one point, Jimmy rides his horse through the unnaturally deserted town at night, and even the buildings behind him look like they belong in some desert town in Arizona – but that doesn’t make up for the lack of tension throughout. This is largely due to the fact that most of the policemen Jimmy is picking off one by one are only introduced to the audience in one short briefing scene, and are all completely unlikable. And once Jimmy lets the new guy go free without harming him about two-thirds of the way through the film we don’t even have him to worry about any more. Jimmy, played by Tom E. Lewis, who was the kid in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith back in the 1970s, is given an almost supernatural aura, never speaking until the end of the film, seemingly impervious to the shots of Red Hill’s rapidly depleting stock of deputies, and unerringly accurate in his aim (apart from when he has an easy shot at our fleeing hero when his aim is suddenly all over the place).
There’s nothing particularly bad about Red Hill, but there’s nothing particularly good or unique about it either.
(Reviewed 20th December 2011)