Edinburgh International Film Festival

Red Hill (2010)

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tommy Lewis, Claire van der Boom, Christopher Davis

Directed by: Patrick Hughes

Rating: 1 2 3 4 and a half

Ryan Kwanten as Shane Cooper in Red Hill

Australian thriller Red Hill has all the ingredients of your classic cops vs psychotic-murderer-on-the-loose shoot 'em up. Idealistic young constable Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten, aka Jason Stackhouse from True Blood) has moved to a small town in the middle of nowheresville so that his pregnant wife can escape the blood-pressure raising stress of the City.

A shame, then, that there's a convicted killer on the loose from a maximum security prison, and he's after the man who put him away, the town's Inspector, Old Bill (Steve Bisley) , a rough and ready old school Aussie who dispenses justice down the barrel of a gun.

Tommy Lewis as Jimmy Conway in Red Hill

Within hours of starting his new job, Shane finds himself in a town under siege, at the mercy of the escapee, Jimmy Conway (Tommy Lewis). Ruthless and unstoppable, the scarred, silent killer is like an Aboriginal Michael Myers, dead set on revenge and seemingly immortal.

At the start of the film you'll probably think you know what's going to happen: Shane hates the idea of shooting a suspect in cold blood; Conway murdered his wife, now Shane's other half is alone in a remote house on a hill; there's a storm brewing, oh, and a panther on the loose. But things are not as straightforward as the classic Spaghetti Western scenario and Stetson styling would suggest. I don't want to give anything away, but take it from me, the ending of the film is superb (and don't run away too quickly when the credits start to role). Violent, darkly funny and utterly gripping, this outback drama is simply bonza.

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