Saturday, 22 January 2011

Beneath Hill 60: Blu Ray Review

Beneath Hill 60: Blu Ray Review

Beneath Hill 60
Rating: M
Released by Universal Home Entertainment

Beneath Hill 60 is the latest recreation of World War I's horrors and is based on the true story of Aussie miner Oliver Woodward (an outstandingly compassionate turn from Brendan Cowell) and his part in the war effort in 1916.

After initially being held back from the war to help mine for munitions supplies, Woodward joins the Western Front and with a successful attempt at removing an Allied threat, he and his team are pushed up the line to try and help them take Hill 60 - by working underground.

But the Germans are also keen to ensure that the famous Hill 60 doesn't fall, thus setting up a game of cat and mouse.

Beneath Hill 60 is a claustrophobic, grimy affair - as you'd expect from a film about mining and the first World War. The recreation of the trenches and the daily horrors only serve to make me appreciate how much was given at the time by those who fought.

Woodward's story at the western front is interspersed with flashbacks to his time in his homeland - When the action (such as it is) cuts back to the trenches, there's plenty of nail-biting moments to be had - from scenes of men getting lost in No Man's Land to German miners getting ever closer to discovering what Woodward and his men are up to. Because of the quiet character moments of this film, when the shocks come, some of them are real surprises.
Gritty, and gripping in equal measures, Beneath Hill 60 is one of the best war films for a long time - even if it does lack a major emotional denouement.
Extras: Commentary, storyboards and Photogallery - very disappointing given that this is based on a true story - why nothing about the actual men involved?

Rating: 8/10 

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