The Hill should have been the definitive movie statement on military dehumumanisation, if not the whole subject of the system's treatment of it's malcontents. One would be tempted to deem it as such but it's nearest contemporarry Jonas Mekas's "The Brig" and Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" march on the same ground, with more focus and sense of purpose. Nevertheless Lumet's film is a sobering experience, strenghthed by superb photography, art direction, editing and a well placed sense of moral anger. Military sadism still hits the headlines today, and Lumet's tale of how an out of control warder effectively kills an inmate and embarrases the ranks into implementing a cover up has resonance. The outstanding cast are all pretty much faultless and even manage to extract some bleak, even slapstick humour from the acidic script.
Time Out saysSean Connery took a break from Bond to give a sterling performance in this awesomely intense drama set in a North African British army camp, where the favourite punishment for prisoners is to send them clambering up and down a man-made hill in the full heat of the day. A lot of screaming and barking issues from the British thesps, and every bead of sweat is visible in Oswald Morris' brilliant monochrome photography. Lumet's strengths (the moral universe as an all-male enclave) and weaknesses (set the volume high, then turn it up higher) are all here. Not for the faint-hearted.