The Proposition [Review]


(2005) dir. John Hillcoat – w/ Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, Ray Winstone, David Wenham, Richard Wilson, and Danny Huston; and let’s not forget John Hurt as an ornery bounty hunter (as opposed to what, indeed) – written by Nick Cave

Synopsis: Set at the end of the 1800s, The Proposition, as it might be expected, is about a Deal, an Offer. Captain Stanley (Winstone), capturing part but not all of a notorious outlaw gang—the dread Burns gang—gives one fellow (Pearce) an ultimatum: kill his older, wiser, more bloodthirsty brother, or his little helpless brother dies. This is the aformentioned “proposition”. Of course it’s not as straightforward as all that. There’s frontier philosophy, and blood, and ominous rain & thunder.

Review: All in all, The Proposition is excellent. Its faults and its strengths share a common root: Nick Cave. The problem is, if you’ve heard one Nick Cave song or if you’ve heard ten, you can predict the ending of this movie, more or less. Or at the very least, you can roughly sketch out the route it’s going to take. As far as fifty minutes into the movie, I had a hard time viewing this as anything more than an extended music video of a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds song, which made it hard to become fully immersed in the movie. Mind you, it was a good song, and a well put-together music video. But it takes a while for the characters to fully emerge. Once that happens, though, the sparks fly; titans clash, gears click, etc. It works, pretty much.

Rating: [••••] out of [•••••]