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The Proposition (2005)

Cast: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, more...
Director: John Hillcoat
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Studio: First Look Pictures
Genre: Westerns, Australia & New Zealand
Running Time: 104 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
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An outlaw is goaded into taking on justice at its most brutal in this hard-edged Western set in rural Australia in the 1880s. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a criminal living in the outback. He and his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey (Richard Wilson), are on the run from the law for rape and murder. Arthur is a violent and dangerous sociopath with a much longer rap sheet than his siblings and a reputation for hiding out in villages so lawless the police are afraid to visit them, while Mikey is a much younger and more impressionable chap.

The authorities capture Charlie and Mikey after a bloody shootout, and the brothers are handed over to Capt. Stanley (Ray Winstone), a British lawman sent to Australia to help bring order to the colonies. Stanley proposes a deal to Charlie, explaining that it's Arthur he really wants, and that he's willing to spare the childlike and terrified Mikey if Charlie can find Arthur and murder him. Charlie, realizing that this is his only hope to save his simpleton younger brother (who is scheduled to be hanged on Christmas Day), agrees and sets out to find and execute his other brother, who he believes has gone too far into the world of crime. As Charlie scours the backwaters of Australia, he encounters Jellon Lamb (John Hurt), an educated yet thoroughly menacing bounty hunter. In time, Charlie finds his brother, but isn't certain if he can carry out his mission. Meanwhile, Stanley struggles to bring a European sense of civility to the rough and tumble land he now calls home, while his wife Martha (Emily Watson) becomes the focus of the lustful appetites of the men in town. The Proposition was written by rock star and novelist Nick Cave; he previously collaborated with director John Hillcoat on the film Ghosts... of the Civil Dead. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Great looking but overly pretentious by Sujata August 16, 2007 - 5:51 PM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This movie is visually stunning, but unlike the rest of the reviewers, I found it otherwise mediocre. It tries too hard to reach for the heart of darkness, and falls off its high horse instead. The characters are not fleshed out (the bounty hunter is a caricature), their motives are never fully examined and are utterly unconvincing, and the ending is a monumental letdown. A little less brooding, and a little more storytelling would have done it good. How's that for a proposition?

Not the motel chain... by Biehlanphear June 25, 2007 - 11:40 AM PDT
Best Western ever. I can't imagine a more perfect horse opera. And this one was made in 2005 and wasn't set in the Western U.S. All the leads are extraordinary particularly Ray Winstone and Danny Huston. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the next John Hillcoat and/or Nick Cave movie.

Loneliness In Proportion by TaoG June 20, 2007 - 11:24 PM PDT
Imagine, Nick Cave; darkly brooding, poetic, spilling out a screenplay and a haunting soundtrack to boot, full of whispering epic, eclectic imagery befitting the wicked sheen of achromatic morality. A film of mystery and beauty in the Australian 19th century outback. Like the dry rasp of a slowly aching bow across a dusky violin, this film brings the swirling violence of a bygone era to life in a fully realized, historically referenced and culturally textured manner. You will never feel a gratuitous or inauthentic moment here. Only the harsh reality of Aboriginal, English, Irish iniquity, an expanse of longing wrought by exceedingly fine performances from John Hurt, Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, Ray Winston, Danny Huston, David Wenham, Richard Wilson, Tom Budge, Tom E. Lewis, Noah Taylor, and an ensemble cast of characters that walked directly from the disintegrating emulsion of archival photography. Director John Hillcot brings to bear an unrelentingly patient eye; a dead-eye wound straight to the heart of human darkness.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.17)
103 Votes
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