Red Hill is Patrick Hughes first movie – he wrote, produced and directed it and it had its Queensland release at the Brisbane International Film Festival. After my disastrous experience with Simone North’s first movie “I Am You” (which she also wrote, produced and directed) I was ready to experience Red Hill with zero expectations of it being a passable movie.
Red Hill tells the story of a just under 24 hours in a small country town in the Victorian Highlands. It is Kwanten’s character, Shane Cooper’s first day on the job as a country beat cop. Unbeknownst to Cooper, this town has a dark past, one that comes crashing in just hours after he starts. The villain of this piece was the indigenous actor Tom E Lewis’ Jimmy Conway. His ability to portray Jimmy Conway’s emotions and thoughts without saying a word, and with wearing a large prosthetic was very impressive. The town, lead by the always enjoyable Steve Bisley, prepare to defend their town from Conway – who is back with vengeance on his mind.
The plot was a bit predictable, and some plot devices were obvious, and had you questioning the motivation of the characters by their actions, which were required to keep the story moving. The twist was also expected but well delivered. I was’t too sure about the necessity of the kitty cat, and it was a tad too CGI for me – but each to their own.
All this being said this film is a very strong first effort. Some of dialogue was great. There was really solid character development and the film was moving along really well – the suspense building and you had real emotional buy in. Then the movie changed into something akin to a Tarinto gun fest bordering on the comical – then back again to the suspense and character driven piece. Some of the shots were wonderful and there were lots of hat tips to other films from the genres.
For a first movie that was made without any support (Hughes mortgaged his house to make it – and it is a “Hughes House Film” (that did make me laugh but I was pretty drunk)) it was damned fine.
Bisley’s Old Bill was a great character!
The town itself.
The art direction.
Kwanten’s forceful acting.
The characters of the town.
Some of the gun fights.
The overall arc of the story.
Unnecessary characters – we had no need to meet his wife.
Predictable plot points.
Kitty Cat nibblies.
Overly hokey country music twangs.
Frustrating character actions/inactions to solely drive the plot.
I initially gave this a #threepanda rating, but on reflection given the shoot time (24 days), first movie bonus, and the self funded multipler I have changed my rating to