I watched a few Australian movies recently, and I thought I’d write about Beneath Hill 60, a movie by director Jeremy Sims. This is a movie about Australian tunnellers working to pack explosives underground in tunnel systems beneath the enemy lines during the First World War in 1916. It is based on a true story. A Queensland miner, Oliver Woodward (played by Brendan Cowell), leads the secret team and they have to prepare and set the explosives off before the Germans discover what they are doing.
I’m probably not making it sound very exciting, and I’m not sure if “exciting” is actually the right word to describe this movie (probably not) but it is definitely a good movie with a fair amount of suspense and the pace of the movie never made me feel bored in the least. The editing of the film helped, with director Jeremy Sims choosing to cut to flashbacks every now and then to explain Oliver Woodward’s story, and how he got to be in his present situation in the front lines.
The audio commentary also reveals that although based on a true story, some liberties were taken (as is usually the case for stories that are just “based” on some event). For example, the filmmakers knew who died but not how they died, so they had to make up the ways some of the characters met their demise. Sims also included some scenes of the Germans, giving a face to some of their characters and making them more humans, undoubtedly to give a sense of loss to characters on both sides of the war since whatever happens (and you’ll have to watch it to find out what happens), nobody really wins when millions die as the credits reveals.
Suspenseful and at times moving, Beneath Hill 60 is definitely worth a watch.
Below is the trailer.