As a sucker for serenity, the vastness of the landscapes and the unbelievable sunsets of “The Proposition” make it a front runner for being one of my favorites in the modern western genre. Headed by John Hillcoat, the director of the more recent post-apocalyptic film “The Road,” the bar could not be set any higher simply heading into the film.

The film starts with, only naturally, a proposition. There are three brothers, Charlie (Guy Pearce), Mike (Richard Wilson), and Arthur (Danny Huston). A lawman named Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) wants to clean up the West by ridding it of savages. The head savage is the oldest brother, Arthur. While Charlie ventures to kill Arthur, Stanley will hold onto Mike as collateral. Here we have the proposition and “The Proposition.”

The story is straightforward, as is how it plays out. You would expect many parties to be involved, for the storyline to take twists and turns, and for some aspect of clouded judgment with a family involved. “The Proposition” shatters most expectations, leaving every part of the film respectfully transparent. If a character is going to kill someone, they do not sit around and talk about it. They just act on impulse. Most characters let their emotions speak for themselves. We are in the West, and it feels authentic.

Guy Pearce and Ray Winstone play off each other rather well. The dynamic of both actors rings true to their character and helps rub off on the rest of the cast. Danny Huston is an odd choice for the older brother, as he comes off too theatrical in most of his roles and continues that stilted delivery in “The Proposition.” John Hurt is also an odd choice as a treasure hunter. Though his look fits the film, his character holds little weight in the storyline.

Being a video game enthusiast, one can see the resemblance “The Proposition” has with the video game “Red Dead Redemption.” Rockstar Games, the creators of “Red Dead Redemption,” have been cited as using “The Proposition” as one of their main influences for the game. The more entertaining aspect of this relationship is that John Hillcoat produced a short film with gameplay from “Red Dead Redemption” as promotional material before the game was released.

Westerns appear simple, but if you have ever viewed a failed Western film, you realize how difficult they are. Not only are you in a specific grandioso setting and period, but directors have to admit there is a specific audience that frequents these films. Their expectations come from the days of John Ford, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood. With all the correct pieces set in place, “The Proposition” successfully carries on the genre’s legacy and breathes life back into the fading Westerns.

May 15, 2005

John Hillcoat

Nick Cave

Sony Pictures

(for strong grisly violence, and for language)

104 minutes

Benoît Delhomme

Nick Cave
Warren Ellis

Jon Gregory

Guy Pearce
Ray Winstone
Danny Huston
John Hurt
David Wenham
Emily Watson
Richard Wilson
Leah Purcell
Tom Budge

Chris Brown
Jackie O’Sullivan
Chiara Menage
Cat Villiers

$2 million

3 Comments on “Movie Review: The Proposition (2005)

  1. Some of the oddness of this film can be attributed to the fact that it is set in Australia, which made it much more memorable to me.

  2. Astounding article bro. This kind of is just a exceedingly nicely structured posting, just the tips I was hunting for. Thanks

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