The Proposition (2005)

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  • The Proposition (2005)

    Been meaning to watch this for years, then spotted the 2-DVD Special Edition for 50p in a charity shop.

    It's an Aussie Western, directed by John Hillcoat and written by Nick Cave of all people. And it's fantastic. If you fancy a Western with a difference this is it - it has all familiar features/tropes but gives them enough of a twist that you don't see where the story is going. It also touches on the racism of Empire, towards the Irish, the native Australians and especially the Aborigines. Meanwhile the performances are universally superb; Danny Huston, Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone and Emily Watson are all excellent.

    The basic story has that great Biblical simplicity of so many Westerns - two outlaw brothers are captured after the rape and murder of a British family; the Captain frees one on condition that he hunts down a third brother, the most dangerous of the three. If he doesn't, the younger, weaker brother is hanged. From there the story just seems to go where it needs to go - whilst I'm sure you could retrospectively apply all sorts of Syd Field cr*p to this, it genuinely feels like a story that grows in the telling. The final 20 minutes or so had me on the edge of my seat - in fact the whole thing is pregnant with tension and violence.

    It's certainly not for the squeamish - a couple of scenes had me looking away from the screen; this is a film where bullets hurt, wounds aren't neat little holes and people don't die quickly. But it never feels gratuitous, more it's a reflection of the period, where life is as brutal as the setting. And Jesus is this a grim setting - every frame is filled with flies, dust, heat and sh*t.

    Anyway - it's strongly recommended, and certainly one of the best Westerns I've seen in a while.
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  • #2
    Re: The Proposition (2005)

    Thanks for the suggestion. I like Westerns, the actors are certainly good, it sounds interestingly bleak. I'm sold.
    "The Hollywood film business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Hunter S Thompson

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    • #3
      Re: The Proposition (2005)

      Definitely worth a watch. I remember enjoying it thoroughly.

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      • #4
        Re: The Proposition (2005)

        It's a stunning film. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the harsh, unforgiving landscape neatly captures the brutality of life in those early colonial days in Australia.

        And, yes, those last twenty minutes...
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