Beneath Hill 60

The Anzac spirit runs strong and deep within the Australian psyche. We love our Anzacs and we love our war movies. Two of the very best films this country has produced are war movies - Peter Weir's Gallipoli and Bruce Beresford's Breaker Morant. So Jeremy Sims' Beneath Hill 60 - a retelling of the historically neglected WWI tunnellers who literally undermined the enemy with explosives in a subterranean attack on the enemy front line - has some mighty big shoes to fill.

Following on from his promising Last Train To Freo (2006), Jeremy Sims tackles a project of grander scope and meets with success for the most part. The film is an effective portrayal of Aussies at war including the personal sacrifices which are made, the danger and claustrophobia involved in tunneling under enemy lines and the ever clichéd bumbling brass who seem to do everything in their power to botch the mission at the behest of our trench-trapped, all-knowing heroes. But ultimately it is Sims' handling of the films scope, which lets the project down just a little. We simply don't feel the magnitude of our boys' undertaking as it pertains to the event of the title. It seems that our Aussies didn't actually have much to do with the explosion of ‘Hill 60’ bar turning up and throwing the switch. The Anzacs didn't plan it, they didn't even set it up, they just came along at the end and pressed the button.

Perhaps Sims would have done well to take a leaf out of Weir's playbook and concentrate his film a little more on the mateship of the tunnellers more so than the transpiring events. He certainly does this to some effect but by the end of the film, the mission is front and centre and our limited contribution to the proceedings becomes obvious. Consider this against Weir's film that is squarely about the mateship of men in conflict (first emotionally, then physically), the event of the title (Gallipoli) merely forms the backdrop for the drama and gives it resonance. Sadly Sims' mimicry of the finale from Gallipoli only serves to drive home the inferiority of his film to Weir's masterpiece; it's a comparison fraught with danger for any filmmaker.

Sims' structure of the film is also a little flawed, making his setups feel somewhat contrived. For instance, we know when a character is about to encounter conflict because we were just delivered his back-story not five minutes before.

Ultimately, though, Beneath Hill 60 is a worthwhile film as it fills in a segment of lost Australian military history and is handled competently by Sims (the aforementioned flaws notwithstanding). The subject matter, however, is infinitely more interesting than the narrative told here and it would probably have been better served by a documentary.
Stuart Jamieson

Bookmark and Share

also featured

Gone Girl
The primal questions of marriage comprise the underlying theme of David Fincher's Gone Girl and shine a light on an uncomfortable and confronting truth: that marriage is inherently beset with elements of emotional manipulation. Read more >>

Dracula Untold
As a literary figure gets adopted into a film character, filmmakers take some extreme liberties. Nowhere has this been more prevalent that with the character known as Dracula.

The Little Death

There are many things to commend filmmaker Josh Lawson for in regards to The Little Death.

With a concept that might never be repeated, filmmaker Richard Linklater was able to take over 12 years to bring Boyhood to the big screen. And the fact he was able to do so using the same cast members for all 12 years only adds to the extraordinary nature of this film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
After the exercise in diminishing returns that was the Transformers franchise (I admit that the first film was a strong start), Michael Bay turns his attention to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Magic in the Moonlight
Stanley (Colin Firth), a well renowned magician, is sent on a debunking mission to expose spiritualist Sophie (Emma Stone) as a fraud. Read more >>

In 1982 a French graphic novel (that’s the adult term for a comic) postulated a world thrown into an ice age where the remnants of humanity are trapped on a train that never stops. Thirty years later we have an international film (Korean director, ensemble cast) to take us on that ride.

Sharknado 2: The Second One
In 2013, one movie set the (western) world alight more than any other.

The Expendables 3

The third film in Stallone's mega action cast flick has Rocky on a suicide mission to catch Mad Max and this time it's serious.

Find on Facebook

Stay up to date with modmove news
about modmove
What to know how we got started?
read the modmove blog
Check out all the random stuff that didn't make it to the website!
contact Us
If you have any queries or if you would like more information about modmove,
we would love to hear from you! 
join our mailing list
subscribe to the mailing list and receive the modmove newsletter.
search modmove for previous news and reviews.


HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard

Privacy Notice
| Contact Us | Site Map | Copyright © 2009 | Entertainment and Popular Culture in Review at