Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Proposition Review

The Proposition (2006)
Dir. John Hillcoat
Starring: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, Danny Huston, John Hurt

Guy Pearce is Charlie Burns, and member of a gang that is captured and then released by Captain Stanley (Ray Winston), who wants Charlie to kill his older brother Arthur Burns (Danny Huston) in order to save the life of his younger brother, as part of Stanley’s quest to civilize Austrailia.

This movie is bleak, mean, and doesn’t hold anything back in terms of brutality. But at the same time something about the film makes it hard to look away when bad things are happening on screen. A lot of that is due to some of the performances in the film. Guy Pearce plays Charlie as a damaged man, forced to do something awful to one brother to save another. Danny Huston’s Arthur seems to have two sides, one that is calm focus and poetic speeches, and another of feral rage that causes the Aborigines to claim that he is like a dog. But the standout is Ray Winstone as Captain Stanley. He surprises in the role, constantly pulling back layers to the character that manage to cause the viewer to eventually sympathize with him. His quest to civilize the outback is a futile one, but his obsession with gives him an Ahab like quality, which is nicely contrasted with the more quiet scenes he shares with Emily Watson, where he gets to show a more softer side and reveal more about the character.

The movie is beautifully shot, showing the deserts of Australia to be gorgeous but dangerous landscape. And the film has got an interesting script, from rocker Nick Cave delivers a great story full of interesting characters, and after reading about his crazy treatment for the proposed Gladiator sequel, it makes me wish that he was doing more scripting work.

This is not a movie for everyone. It’s stark and bleak in terms of story and violence, but at the same time it is something that I couldn’t turn away from. It is a very watchable movie about bad people doing bad things, and if you can stand the misery, it’s a very rewarding movie.

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