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The Proposition (R)

Release Date: May 5th, 2006 (Angelika Film Center) by First Look Pictures.
The Cast: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, Danny Huston, David Wenham, John Hurt, Tom Budge, Richard Wilson, Robert Morgan, Noah Taylor.
Directed by John Hillcoat.

BASIC PREMISE: Set in the Australian outback during the 1880’s, Stanley (Winstone) gives an Irish outlaw named Charlie (Pearce) a proposition: he must kill his older brother Arthur (Huston) by Christmas day or else his younger brother Mike (Wilson) will be killed.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: What makes The Proposition so surprisingly riveting is that it’s not a typical good guy vs. bad guy Western movie with many gun battles. Every character, except Stanley’s wife, Martha (Watson), is violent and somewhat unlikable, yet utterly believable. Stanley’s simple proposition sets off a strong second-act conflict that becomes increasingly complicated as Charlie refuses to kill his older brother so easily. That, essentially, sets off a war between Charlie and Stanley while Charlie attempts to rescue his younger brother who is being held captive. Well-cast Guy Pearce gives a very convincing performance as Charlie. Likewise, Danny Huston excels in the role of Charlie, an angry, complex man who can also be quite kind. The screenplay by Nick Oates doesn’t waste any time with unnecessary subplots and keeps the dialogue in a very serious tone without intentionally adding any bizarre humor. He wisely avoids any contrived scenes. The music by Oates himself also fits in perfectly with the tone. This gritty Australian Western lives up to its R-rating with plenty of graphic violence and a disturbing rape scene. With the impressive cinematography, Director John Hillcoat makes the most out of the rugged beauty of the Australian outback landscape, which serves like a characters of its own.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: In a way, The Proposition shows how powerful the human conscience can be, especially when it comes to resorting to violence as a means of solving one’s problems. Captain Stanley doesn’t want his wife to be a part of all the violence, so he protects her. Charlie’s refusal to kill his brother shows how much he remains loyal and unconditionally loves his brother. Fundamentally, both Stanley and Charlie have a good heart, but they don’t always prefer to show it.



IN A NUTSHELL: Disturbingly violent and suspenseful with impressive cinematography! An glorious Australian western!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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