The Proposition (2005)
With John Hillcoat’s third feature film he wanted to redefine the Western genre by setting it in the Australian outback. Hillcoat asked long-time friend and collaborator Nick Cave to write the script (which was completed in three weeks) and the musical score, which he composed with Warren Ellis.
Amidst the backdrop of the clash between white European settlers and aboriginals, the conditions of ‘the proposition’ set forth by lawman Maurice Stanley (Ray Winstone) require that Charlie Burns (Guy Pierce) bring his older brother Arthur (Danny Huston) to justice in exchange for the freedom of his 14-year old brother Mikey (Richard Wilson) and impunity for himself. By the bloody denouement, these three outlaws will rock the moral conviction of the civilized.
The film acts as a testimonial to the social separation and disintegration that almost always ensues from contracts based on distinctions between the “law-abiding” and the “lawless.” Throughout history, these ‘agreements,’ always based on power plays and never serving equal terms, generate loss and tragedy. The film inspires a sort of reverse motion, blurring the lines between good and evil and calling into question pre-conceived notions of community.
Filmed in Winton, Queensland and set in the 1880’s, filmed on sacred sites, rugged and unforgiving terrain and under extremely harsh conditions, the story seems to bleed out of the landscape itself and hang hauntingly in the atmosphere at dusk. Raw, violent, and devastatingly beautiful, the film is a moving and poetic treatise.
- Story A
- Acting A
- Visuals A+
- Originality/Innovation A-
- Enjoyability A
- Overall A
- DVD Extras C+