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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 39.73%
Average: 2.74%
Pretty Bad: 13.7%
Total Crap: 1.37%

5 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Proposition, The (2006)
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by Mark Rodger-Snelson

"Uncompromising and brave piece of cinema"
4 stars

The Proposition is a blistering Aussie western set in the Queensland outback in the 1880’s. It is a violent tale of revenge, hatred and honour in an extremely harsh environment. Written by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat (Ghosts of the Civil Dead), it is an uncompromising and brave piece of cinema which should help put the Australian film industry back on the map.

It opens with a gun battle ending with the capture of two of the Burns brothers; Charlie (Guy Pearce) and Mikey (Richard Wilson). The Burns gang is wanted for a hideous crime and Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) puts forth a proposition to Charlie in order to end the gang’s violent ways. He basically gives Charlie’s the choice of two brothers. Either he track down and kill his elder brother, Arthur (Danny Huston), believed to be the perpetrator of a particularly brutal crime or let his seemingly innocent younger brother swing by a noose on Christmas day. If he takes the first choice he is also offered a pardon for any of the crimes committed when he was still a member of the gang. Charlie obviously has stronger feelings for Mikey and he sets off on horseback into the unforgiving outback where Arthur is believed to be bunkered down in a cave.

The Proposition has a brilliant cast with Ray Winstone being the standout and there is an amazing cameo performance from John Hurt who plays a bounty hunter on Arthur’s trail. The cinematography by Frenchman Benoit Delhomme is breathtaking, capturing the harsh beauty and stark contrasts of the Australian outback beautifully. Another plus is the score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (The Dirty Three) which is suitably eerie.

Although it is visually stunning and exceptionally acted, the film suffers due to poor character development and leaving too many questions unanswered. The motivations behind some of the key characters are never fully realised. A better understanding of the Burns brother’s relationships and history would have been a gainful insight and improved the film substantially.

Faults aside, there is still plenty to like about The Proposition and it is a worthwhile outing to the cinema. Be warned though, it is not for the faint of heart as it is often very graphic and uncompromising in its portrayal of violence.

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originally posted: 10/11/05 20:35:20
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For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Portland Film Festival For more in the 2006 Portland Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival For more in the 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Independent Film Festival of Boston For more in the 2006 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2006 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/09/10 Will Tomory Cliched, predictable, laughable gore pore 2 stars
12/04/08 Shaun Wallner Great Film! 5 stars
11/03/08 brian Poorly developed, unnecessarily gory, but very well made. 3 stars
5/26/08 mr.mike It was pretty good 4 stars
11/28/07 Edwin Menguin Mesmerising 5 stars
9/23/07 John Howard absolutely superb - Australian drama at its best! 4 stars
8/22/07 harry very good film..the more times you watch it the more you appreciate it 5 stars
8/16/07 Rose Pasibe The is probably the best western I've seen. Jaw dropping!! 5 stars
5/20/07 Derek Fleek Pretty good Australian film 4 stars
10/31/06 Indrid Cold Nick Cave shouldn't quit his day job. Well, actually he should quit that too. 2 stars
10/23/06 John S. here are the "quarters" where it was well recieved: Sundance, NY Times, Boston Globe etc. 5 stars
10/11/06 Lance Not a good film....a GREAT western since 'Unforgiven" 5 stars
10/08/06 daniel excellent western, good guys are not always good, bad guys not necessarily bad 4 stars
9/20/06 James Craig Wow, a real moralistic quagmire. Great! 5 stars
8/31/06 porfle I think it's a great Western. 4 stars
8/19/06 jcjs drop dead wow in action, acting, truth, visual, entertainment, intense, as good as it gets 5 stars
6/11/06 S.K.Adams Stunning, in story and photography. 5 stars
6/10/06 Ole Man Bourbon Not great--kinda wishy-washy 4 stars
6/09/06 Melissa Sonnen fantastic, smart, entertaining 5 stars
5/31/06 Jacqueline Flawed. The good guy is n anarchist racists and the bad guy also. 2 stars
5/30/06 Alissa Love it! 5 stars
5/29/06 Visually stunning, great music, unnecessarily gory and bloodyand difficult to understand 4 stars
5/15/06 Mase Down and dirty, visually stunning but perhaps lacking a soul. Great western aussie flick. 4 stars
5/08/06 chienne Savage & depressing. But very good. 4 stars
5/08/06 lee Great film!!!! 5 stars
4/01/06 MP Bartley Offbeat, but savage, poetic and powerful. Winstone and Watson are superb. 4 stars
3/12/06 Graham A full-on, gory, Gothic, poetic Western, just like how I like 'em. 5 stars
2/20/06 Todahe Well done! 4 stars
11/27/05 Kobbo Good stuff! 5 stars
10/26/05 Bill Fock Outstanding, very violent. 5 stars
10/26/05 Mr Majestic Bleak, gritty, amazing film. Extraordinary. Ray Winstone was GREAT! 5 stars
10/23/05 John Tracey simply great 5 stars
10/15/05 Tom Dutkowski Brutal, Violent, gripping. A story to match the outback landscape. 5 stars
10/08/05 john bale Violent film suggesting a hard land brutalises those trying to tame it. 5 stars
10/08/05 SUzanne Howard Undercooked script & overcooked production. No character development. Boring & clumsy. 2 stars
10/07/05 Danno the Movie Manno Finally a good Aussie film... 5 stars
10/06/05 fred Amazing...A fantastic Film 5 stars
10/03/05 Anna Beautiful, brutal and completely uncompromising in every respect. 5 stars
9/28/05 E. Northam Intriguing script; superbly cast; intelligently directed; magnificent use of natural design 5 stars
9/25/05 wong kar wai sucks!!! 1 stars
9/22/05 Jane bloody good movie - not typically my preference but the movie makes more than up for that 5 stars
9/02/05 Jim Johnson Awesome movie, with even more awesome soundtrack by Cave, check it out. 5 stars
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  05-May-2006 (R)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2006



Directed by
  John Hillcoat

Written by
  Nick Cave

  Tom Budge
  Guy Pearce
  Emily Watson
  Ray Winstone
  David Wenham
  John Hurt

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