Saturday, November 6, 2010

Movie with Abe: Red Hill

Red Hill
Directed by Patrick Hughes
Released November 5, 2010

Jason Stackhouse may have to bend over backwards on “True Blood” to officially become a cop, but in the new film “Red Hill,” actor Ryan Kwanten doesn’t have to try too hard as he transfers from the big city to a small town in Australia to join the police force. Unfortunately, Shane Cooper’s first day and night are filled with just about as much mischief as the average twenty-four hours spent in Bon Temps, even though there are no vampires or supernatural forces at work. Beyond that, similarities between “True Blood” and “Red Hill” become difficult to find.

“Red Hill” is a very lonely film which throws its main character into a situation where almost no one is warm or welcoming, and where people in general are hard to find. This small town seems lively during the day, but as soon as Cooper heads out of the center, he barely comes into contact with anyone. It certainly doesn’t help that a convicted killer has broken out of prison and made it his life’s mission to hunt down and kill every last police officer in the town as revenge for putting him in prison. Cooper’s first day is hardly ideal, and it only gets worse as day turns into night.

Cooper’s introduction, as well as the audience’s, to this new town is a rather uninformative, unfriendly process, where those who don’t suspect him of incompetence are either lazy or deliberately intent on being malicious towards him for the fun of it. The town feels seriously abandoned, as if those involved with the casting of the film forgot to stock the ghost town movie set with extras. That does help to enhance the film’s feel as a thriller, but it also makes it feel empty and unrealistic, in addition to being relatively sluggish.

As some films tend to do, this one makes the mistake of giving its bad guy too much credit. Without any superpowers or something of the sort, there is no way that one escaped convict could cause as much havoc as Jimmy Conway does in this film. Along those lines, the fact that he is able to outsmart the entire police department and inspire terror among their ranks is highly unbelievable, and the film paints him as an omniscient, unstoppable force, giving Cooper sole authority to stand eye to eye with him without cowering in fear. “Red Hill” is a thriller that tries hard, but regrettably, it just doesn’t deliver.


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