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After being shot on duty, police officer Shane Cooper moves with his pregnant wife to the quiet town Red Hill, where sheriff Old Bill is downright unfriendly and Shane's first day on the job turns into the worst day of his life. When killer Jimmy Conway escapes from jail and travels to Red Hill, bringing hell with him. This flick is obviously western, but is mixed heavily with the thriller genre with very small amounts of horror thrown in. The screenplay is excellent up until a little bit over the halfway mark. It begins to lose steam for a bit, but is nonetheless still good. It picks itself back up as the film continues. Some of the characters are dumb as rocks when they are forced to face Jimmy Conway. Even a few of Shane Cooper's actions in the beginning will piss viewers off. However, by the end, everything that he did makes sense to the story. There's some clever humor mixed into the beginning of the film that flows well. The characters are well defined and allows the audience to honestly warm up to our main character.
It's fortunate that with this well-rounded script we get a rather talented cast. Ryan Kwanten is fantastic as Shane Cooper. He really got into his role and transitions well to the character changes throughout. Steve Bisley performs as Old Bill and will make the audience hate his character in every way imaginable, which is always a compliment for actors in these roles. Tommy Lewis is Jimmy Conway and has only one or two lines of dialogue in the entire film. All of his character's emotions and everything else is said through his actions. There's no doubt that Ryan Kwanten steals the show. This is a gifted group of actors who clearly know what they're doing with their characters.
The entire film takes place in Australia and the locations chosen are absolutely perfect. When the portion of the film that's at night occurs, the entire mood changes. The shooting style is outstanding and is quite unique. Since this is a western, there's a lot of gun fights. They're as entertaining as ever with quite a bit of gore. The visuals are of marvelous, especially in terms of camera work and cinematography.
Moviegoers might be expecting something a bit different from this. It's not mainly a gory western flick. It's a film with well developed characters, a good story, that just has the strong violence as an extra. I'm sure not many people have even heard of this, but I hope that this review will make some of you give the movie a go. If you can see it in the theaters, then get out there and see it. Red Hill is an awesome Australian western/thriller that's definitely recommended.