In the age of Transformers and Avatars, it’s often difficult to enthuse an audience without 40 foot creatures, explosions of biblical proportions, and impossibly unrealistic story lines. Writer/director Patrick Hughes dares to equip his villain with nothing more than a shot gun. Aussie-Western, Red Hill, starring “True Blood‘s” Ryan Kwanten opens this weekend nationwide.

Check out the review below…

The Plot:

Police officer, Shane Cooper (Kwanten), and his pregnant wife move to Red Hill, a remote town in the Australian countryside. His first day on the job the small local police force gets wind of a prison break – Jimmy Conway – convicted for the murder of his wife. The officers immediately spiral into panic-mode and post up around town to catch the scoundrel (!). Through a series of western-y events, Shane slowly discovers that everyone around him has a questionable agenda, and struggles to survive the chaos.

The Good:

  • Western: This genre feels nearly archaic. Given the exaggerated scale of conflict that’s so often used in today’s films, you’d think it’d be difficult for an audience to sink their teeth into an action movie that’s so simple: Somebody who committed one, measly murder escaped from jail and the most vicious weapon in town is a shot gun. 15 minutes deep this film seems as dull as that sentence. But, thanks to committed performances, midway through the picture you’re (surprisingly) sufficiently on board with the story.
  • Ryan Kwanten: I’m pleased to report that it’s unfair to measure this man’s talent based off of True Blood. The character of Shane is your typical “Peter Parker” – written with all the traits of the average, likable guy who’s suddenly  and inexplicably destined for heroism. As the story progresses Shane finds himself stuck between the “laws” of Red Hill and what’s simply humane – he’s the moral compass of the film. So, yes, you’re arranged to like him off the bat, but Kwanten brings such charm and charisma to this role – you’re really rooting for him.

The Bad:

  • Cheese: Dialogue is dialogue – I’m of the belief that a solid delivery on the actor’s part can un-cheese any cliche. Red Hill is a western, so cowboy-ish banter runs with the territory – and the actors handled it. We can attribute the “cheese” to the cinematography – the dramatic ECU’s, cuts, pans, etc. There are a multiple moments that could’ve been quite powerful had they not been over dramatized by camera work.

The Good/Bad:

  • Zero Commercial Appeal: What makes this movie so great is exactly what will reduce it’s commercial appeal. This is the 21st century. Audiences want bombs and bizarreness.


I enjoyed this film. It’s nothing to write home about, and will not generate box office numbers (…maybe Kwanten’s True Blood fan base) but I was pleased someone “revived” the western.

Rating: 6/10

The film opens nationwide October 28.

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