Introducing ‘Focus’ – John Hillcoat


What is ‘Focus’? 

‘Focus’ is a new feature  primarily designed to raise awareness of talents who are not yet fully recognised. If there is a film that is due to be released and there is a talent there, then they will appear in a ‘Focus’ post. These people can range from actors to directors to cinematographers to composers – anything that deserves a mention! Sometimes higher profile talents may appear but primarily, it is for people who have not yet been recognised.

This Week

This is a little late and I had planned to have finished this last week in time for the film, but I have been catching up with many of the films that have been nominated for Academy Awards. Check out my Reviews for some of the Best Picture nominees and I plan to rank all the Best Picture nominees in a post next week once I watch ‘Brooklyn’.



John Hillcoat is a film director, responsible for  last week’s crime thriller ‘Triple 9’. Now ‘Triple 9’ has received mixed-to-positive reviews (I am still yet to see it) but regardless of the quality of the film, Hillcoat is an accomplished director.

He heralds from Australia and started out by directing music videos and rose up to make a documentary of the music band, INXS in 1985. He then went on to making low-budget Australian films which included 1988’s ‘Ghosts…of the Civil Dead’ and ‘To Have and To Hold’ in 1996.

His big break came in 2005 with a western, ‘The Proposition’ starring Guy Pearce and Ray Winstone which received very positive reviews and won 4 Australian Film Institute Awards. It’s a really visceral and well-acted film with a great script penned by Nick Cave who also does a great job in composing the film along with regular Warren Ellis. For me, this is Hillcoat’s best film to date.

He then made his first American film, ‘The Road’, a survival film starring Viggo Mortensen and was Kodi Smit-McPhee’s big break and he won a Critic’s Choice Award. Although generally regarded as his best work, I found ‘The Road’ to be very atmospheric in places and it has some beautifully shot sequences but I thought it fell a little flat the more it went on.


‘Lawless’ was Hillcoat’s next film, released in 2012 and is a drama set in the Prohibition era and has a hell of a cast comprised of Shia LaBoeuf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Hillcoat-regular Guy Pearce. I really liked the film although it received good-not-great reviews and it’s a gritty and dark film and is very black in its sense of humour. Guy Pearce is the standout here as the sadistic villain.

WETTEST COUNTY Scene 147 Shootout at the bridge

Now 4 years later, ‘Triple 9’ is Hillcoat’s latest offering and once again, has a tremendous cast. Hollywood actors definitely recognise John Hillcoat as a great director to work with, even if his films don’t always receive the best reviews. Hopefully, this talented director will become a household name in the years to come if he keeps doing what he’s doing.


‘Triple 9’ is in cinemas now.

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