Patrick Hughes leaps into the crowded crime thriller arena with his debut feature film Red Hill, which played at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year, and is competing with a wide array of talent, not least in the thriller genre.

Policeman Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) has moved from the city to a quiet town in the middle of nowhere with his pregnant wife and after moving into the town for a couple of days, Cooper and the other police officers are tasked with the take down of an escaped criminal named Jimmy Conway (Tommy Lewis).

We are told the criminal’s motivations and we get an understanding of why he is taking down the police officers, which challenges Cooper’s role as a police officer, leading him to question himself and his actions. Although this simple story is engaging Red Hill does have quite a lot of predictable plot twists and unfortunately suffers from giving audiences nothing new to watch within the Crime/Thriller genre.

Moving away from his role as Jason Stackhouse from the True Blood television series, Kwanten does a decent enough job, however he did remind me of Timothy Olyphant’s performance as David Dutton in Breck Eisner’s recent The Crazies. Meanwhile, Tommy Lewis plays the expressionless, scared criminal and while he had very little to say, his acting was concentrated on his physical movements.

Director Patrick Hughes attempts to tackle a difficult genre for his debut and while he manages to do fairly well at both directing and writing for Red Hill,  the screenplay did suffer the clichés such as predictable plot twists and character-driven story structure and it has been done better in other films that has been released prior to it.

Overall, the direction and writing were not the best but Hughes benefits from a decent cast and this is a very good directorial debut into feature-length filmmaking.

There’s a trailer below,