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|Chinese subtitles Beneath Hill 60||3 months ago|
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A tense thriller yet an accurate insight.
8/10 'Beneath Hill 60' is a true story based on a front-line campaign in Belgium in 1917. This is a war film unlike any other. Not at least that it is about Australian soldiers in a predominately British campaign. There were many others who fought in both World Wars, though you wouldn't know it from most big budget war films we are used to seeing.3 years ago
Oliver Woodward (Brendan Cowell) is a late inductee into the campaign on the front who must prove himself to his fellow Aussies who have been in the trenches for some time. It's literally hell on earth. But these soldiers belong to a special unit. The tunnelers. Their job, to subvert the enemy from beneath. They are soon sent to one of the great Fronts of WW1 in Belgium, to an area known Hill 60 which is currently dominated by the Germans. There is a plan in place, but can they pull it off? It's claustrophobic. It's tense. There is constant shelling. The guns shots come from nowhere. You can understand how many were driven mad by it. (Shell shock).
This film works on so many levels. A brilliant taut script by David Roach based on the actual diaries of Woodward who shows us that there is more at stake here than gaining mere inches of ground. There is the tenacity of man. The blunt simple-mindedness which is required to get the job done, but which can also blind some men from the truth. War is stupid. It's a game. And yet they are not merely soldiers but ordinary people. We get an insight into their lives, predominately through Woodward himself, which juxtaposes how horrific war is. We get an idea of the German position too. Often they are faceless enemy's but here we get a little insight into the men on the other side of the muddy walls.
It's a suspenseful film, directed with real flair and I'm surprised to say, mastery of the medium, by actor Jeremy Sims, whose first film, (Last Train to Freo), was rather an languid affair. Once again he works within an tight budget, (like all Australian films, except for that unmentionable one), but he puts you into the mud and the water and the darkness underground. You'll by yearning for your shower, dry bed and a cup of tea; privileges denied to most of these chaps for months at a time.
My only criticism is that Brendan Cowell looks too old for the part. He' s supposed to be 25. I could have gone along with it if I'd been told much earlier. But really he is Australia's best actor (Noise, Love My Way) and plays Woodward to perfection.
The supporting cast is also first class. Steve Le Marquand shows his depth and is totally believable. It's welcoming to see John Stanton back. We don't see him enough in Australian film. He has a strong presence and that amazing voice. He is an underused icon. I barely recognized Jacqueline McKenzie, who looks ten years younger than she is. She is always a pleasure to watch. Her on screen daughter played by Bella Heathcote is a real talent too though Aden Young's brief odd appearance seemed unconvincing. The tunnelers themselves, all work together to bring a on-screen camaraderie and presence. Credit must go to Sims and Roach for this collective working dynamic. Also noted are the chillingly effective 5.1 sound effects and a classy score by legendary composer Cezary Skubiszewski.
If you are from outside Australia, and don't like war films, it is still effective as a thriller and even a love story. It's highly recommended. For Australians, it's a must own DVD for every household. Finally, an Australian film to be proud of. And an important one at that.
Beneath Hill 60 is a gem.
8/10 This film should be seen by all Australians. It is authentic and extremely well acted; no overacting and no gilding the lily. Take a box of tissues. As an indication of how special this movie was, at the end while the credits were playing, everyone except two people remained in their seats for the entire running time of the credits and the upper part of the theatre was full. I would like to encourage younger people to see it; young people like those who visit Gallipoli would appreciate its significance. It depicts the true nature of the first world war and also depicts the essence of the Australian character; free-spirited, somewhat disrespectful of officer ranks until said officers earn respect. WWI was not like other wars; though the very awfulness of the trenches is obvious, the movie dwells just enough but not too much on this aspect. I hope it is successful overseas though I cannot imagine the British going to see it in large numbers, nor the Americans. The British are gently lampooned once or twice and would not take kindly to this, and the Americans do not get a look in at all so they would not be likely to be motivated to see it. However, if they did, I think they would appreciate it.3 years ago
Probably the greatest Aussie -War- film to date.
9/10 Do you remember, as a kid, watching stories of bravery and heroism set on a backdrop of war, and being fascinated by a kind of warfare you'd never even imagined before? Marveling at crafty allies and enemies alike pitting their wits as much as their weapons against each other to find each others weakness and foil the other's strategy? Well Beneath Hill 60 is just like that- an old fashioned no-nonsense look at a fascinating angle of WW1 never before properly explored- TUNNEL warfare. There are moments that leave you stunned to think of what dangers and precautions these men had to be ready for, above -and- below ground.3 years ago
Make no mistake though, unlike the coming of age tale Gallipoli or the military court drama Breaker Morant, this really is, at long last, an Australian WAR film. And quite possibly it is the best from this country so far (though I'm still yet to see The Odd Angry Shot so jury's still out) and I would say one of the top ten WW1 films I've ever seen (and I've seen a LOT).
And it's all the more incredible because it's a true story. There was one moment which even almost made me tear up (unbelievable, right?) which I won't mention, suffice to say it involved a briefly shown, but dialogue-less revealing of just how much an experience had left a man broken and hollow.
If I absolutely HAD to find fault with the film, it would NOT be the flashbacks (you can't go round saying the characters were one dimensional and then say the background story was unimportant!) but perhaps the soundtrack. It knows what it's doing on the battlefield, but in the flashbacks is unsure of itself, sometimes getting all melodramatic like an excited child.
Really, that's it. The music seems slightly odd in one or two places. Everything else just WORKS. It's visually stunning, realistic, has great characters, action, suspense (and how!) and even humour. That's right, even in WW1 soldiers found time to crack the odd joke don't y'know.
So do check this out pronto- you won't be disappointed. And remember- keep one eye closed when the flares go up- you'll see better once it goes out again. ;)
An excellent Australian-made war movie
9/10 My husband and I saw this movie yesterday and I have to say the acting was brilliant.3 years ago
This is a very good war movie, showing comradeship, caring for your fellow man, and depicts what a serviceman in war would go through. So it was very hard to understand why civilians were involved, and young ones at that.
It was very graphic, to the point where I felt a need to look away at times. Australia has done us proud. It is definitely not a pretty movie and quite dark, but then again war isn't pretty. I would say definitely go and see it.
better than I expected
10/10 There are many war films, but some stand out. This is definitely one of them.3 years ago
The story builds slowly in the first part of the film, and we get an insight into the main characters and the conditions they had to endure. The latter part develops further as they head towards the Battle of Messines Ridge.
The battle scenes were made as realistic as possible, intermingled with flashbacks to Capt. Woodwards life back home, and the circumstances surrounding his enlistment into the mining battalion.
An outstanding movie....!