Red Hill (15)

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Review byMatthew Turner13/05/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Red Hill starts brilliantly but tails off halfway through and fails to deliver on its initial promise, despite a strong performance from Ryan Kwanten.

What's it all about?
Directed by Patrick Hughes, Red Hill stars Ryan Kwanten (aka True Blood's Jason Stackhouse and Vinnie from Home and Away) as Shane Cooper, an Australian city cop who's transferred to small-town Red Hill because his heavily pregnant wife (Claire van der Boom) has been advised to keep her blood pressure down following a previous miscarriage. Just Cooper's luck then that on his first day he encounters escaped killer Jimmy Conway (Tommy Lewis), who's seemingly intent on gunning down every member of the police force. And as if that wasn't bad enough, there's also a storm on the way and a ravenous wild animal on the loose.

The Good
Ryan Kwanten makes an excellent lead as Shane, throwing himself into the physicality of the role and proving he can do likeable without resorting to Stackhouse-like dim-wittedness. There's also strong support from Tommy Lewis (who, interestingly, plays more or less the same character he played in his first film, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith) and there are some intriguing supporting characters, particularly the aptly-named Old Bill (Steve Bisley), the no-nonsense chief cop in charge of the manhunt.

To be fair, the film starts well, with Hughes quickly setting up both the characters and the situation, as well as creating a something-isn't-quite-right atmosphere that's both menacing and suspenseful.

The Bad
However, any tension involved in awaiting Conway's arrival is dispensed with almost immediately and the rest of the film is mostly a fairly routine stalk-and-shoot affair, interspersed with the occasional ridiculous moment – for example, the bit where the jungle cat appears is worse than the whole of Kimmeh vs The Mountain Lion in Season 2 of 24. The dialogue is increasingly awful too, and the final scene especially is peppered with unintentional laughs, as well as featuring one of the worst last lines in recent memory.

Worth seeing?
Despite a strong start and a solid lead performance from Ryan Kwanten, Red Hill is ultimately something of a disappointment thanks to dodgy dialogue and a script that fails to capitalise on its early promise.

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Content updated: 22/07/2018 17:33

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