The Proposition (2005)
Directed by John Hillcoat
Starring: Guy Pearce, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, Danny Huston, David Wenham, Richard Wilson
The Hopkins family is dead, murdered and brutalized by the Burns Brothers gang. Captain Stanley (Winstone) has captured two of these brothers following a shootout. Now he has Charlie (Pearce) and Mike (Richard Wilson) in custody and he’s ready to hang them both. Looking to capture their more notorious brother Arthur, he makes a deal with the brothers. Charlie needs to find and kill Arthur (Huston) in nine days to save Mike from the noose.
Writer and musician Nick Cave (Lawless) wrote the screenplay for this brutal and dramatic story. Director John Hillcoat (The Road) got behind the camera and put together a beautiful film. The cast is incredible, featuring Oscar nominees John Hurt (Immortals) and Emily Watson (War Horse). The movie also stars Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential), Ray Winstone (Hugo), Danny Huston (21 Grams), and David Wenham (Public Enemies).
This movie was released in 2005 and immediately embraced by the critics. Roger Ebert even gave the film four stars calling it “a record of those things we pray to be delivered from”. The story is unforgiving and brutal, never seeming to back away from the moments of truth. The story seems to lack a hero, instead using a collection of flawed characters to tell the story.
The actors all take full advantage of the dark nature of their characters and break out with awesome performances from every one of them. One of the more emotional performances comes from Richard Wilson, a young actor who brings real emotion to his young character. John Hurt is equally impressive in his gritty performance. Each of the actors deserves credit for making this a great Australian Western.
The camera work is incredible throughout this movie. Each scene takes full advantage of the sets and more importantly the natural beauty of Australia. The film takes full advantage of the irony of violence against a beautiful and serene backdrop. The costuming and score also work perfectly with all the other aspects of this film.
For a story this dark there seems to be much more success than failure. Like a Terrence Malick film the movie does seem to meander at times, but never outside the scope of the big picture. If you’re a fan of Terrence Mallick I think this is a must-see movie. This one will also appeal to fans of the modern Westerns. Be aware, this is a violent and brutal movie that doesn’t look away in the darkest moments. I give this one 4.7 out of 5 stars.