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Fantastic Fest 2010: Capone loves the Australian Western/aboriginal revenge flick RED HILL!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Austin here. Clearly inspired by the same influences the Coen Brothers were borrowing from when they made NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (the early Westerns of Clint Eastwood; Cormac McCarthy; HIGH NOON), Australian writer-director-editor Patrick Hughes has crafted the modern-day stranger-comes-to-small-town thriller RED HILL, which is both universally recognizable as good guys vs. bad guys struggle and a movie that is so uniquely Australian as to put Baz Luhrmann to shame for his last movie. Hughes joins his Australian filmmaker brethren Nash Edgerton (THE SQUARE) and David Michôd (ANIMAL KINGDOM) as they usher in some of the best crime dramas their continent has produced in decades. It may not be a big enough phenomenon to be considered a "new wave," but these guys are onto something exciting, edgy, and worthy of your attention. RED HILL is told through the eyes of the new sheriff in town. On his first day on the job, Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten, who plays Jason Stackhouse on HBO's "True Blood") forgets his gun and already has a secret about why he and his pregnant wife requested a transfer from city living to this quaint small town in the outback, where the biggest problem a member of the community might face is a wild animals attacking his livestock or a tractor breaking down in the middle of a well-traveled road. The locals aren't too friendly to Shane (the name is no coincidence to fans of Westerns), and even the other constables are pretty mean to the guy, so much so that they force him to ride a horse to his first call at a faraway farm. We hear from a TV that are on in the background in one early scene that an explosion at a nearby prison has resulted in the escape of one prisoner, an aboriginal named Jimmy Conway (legendary Australian actor Tommy Lewis from THE PROPOSITION and THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH), who has spent 15 years for killing his family. Without warning (although not a total surprise to some in the town), Jimmy obtains weapons and a cool long, leather coat and makes his way to the small town for the express intent of killing a whole lot of people, or so we think. One of the curses of seeing so many films in a year is that I kind of had the secrets of RED HILL figured out early on, which in no way kept me from enjoying the hell out of this beautifully shot, gloriously violent little movie. In many ways, RED HILL is the kind of aboriginal revenge film that should have been made decades ago. As much as it was enjoyable as hell to watch the other town cops attempt to keep their deep, dark secrets away from Shane, the real joy of the is watching the dialogue-free performance of Lewis. With half his face severely scarred from burns, Tommy sports a beard on the unburned half of his face, which made me laugh, but the visual is creepy as hell. Tommy combines a ruthless walking-down-the-middle-of-the-street fighting style with more clever traps he sets for those trying to kill him, both methods resulting in some of the loudest, rafter-shaking gun battles I've ever heard in a movie theater. Setting such brutality in such a beautifully desolate location, direction Hughes does his rather straightforward story a great service by making it more iconic and sweeping, taking full advantage of the location and the deeper-resonating social undertones. Those of you who have only ever seen Kwanten on "True Blood" owe it to yourself to see that he's capable of playing someone with a brain and some sense of subtlety, who doesn't just go where the wind takes him or the prettiest girl takes him. His performance here is layered, quiet, thoughtful, and, when necessary, utterly badass without getting too flashy about it. RED HILL is still making the festival circuit (it'll be part of the upcoming Chicago Film Festival on October 9 & 11, and I hear it will be in the Hawaiian Film Festival as well) before debuting on the coasts in November, and hopefully expanding beyond that soon after. Seek this gritty puppy out soon. Full day of Fantastic Fest movies on Sunday; hope I can keep up.
-- Capone capone@aintitcool.com Follow Me On Twitter



Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 26, 2010, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Plot doesn't sound too ab-original

    by CHRISTIAN_BALE_TRASHED_MY_LIGHTS

    See what I did there?

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Wow can't wait to see it ... and yer mamma

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    I thought I told you earlier.... Just Fuck off You Cunting Slag!

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST

    FOURTH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by mygirleatsbannanas

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 2:09 p.m. CST

    The Secrets

    by resident01

    Seems like some of the twists/secrets are given away in the trailer.

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 4:44 p.m. CST

    saw the trailer for this

    by Bouncy X

    was weird seeing Ryan speak with his natural accent. its one thing to fake a good american accent, but to also fake one with a natural southern twang? i would have never believed he wasn't american had i never seen interviews with him.

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 9:26 p.m. CST

    Will you come?????

    by lilygreen

    :) Hey guys, come to -----blackwhitetflirts*c0m---- check out my new hot pics by searching username"sexyBritney"

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Saw the trailer for this

    by SmokingRobot

    Looks UNBELIEVABLY STUPID. Yeah, a guy riding on a horse at night can HEAR someone a hundred yards behind him cock a gun and then turn around and shoot the guy before the gun gets a shot off. Christ. Are people not more sophisticated than this anymore?

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Steve Bisley

    by BBSloth

    Capone you failed to mention Steve Bisley, Goose from Mad Max, is in this. or don't you know who he is? Shame on you