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The Proposition (2005)

June 18, 2009

VERDICT:
9/10 Much Needed Showers

Along with 3:10 to Yuma, this is one of the best Westerns to come out in the last ten years and it’s grittier than chewing on a mound of dirt. Trust me, that’s a good thing.

The Proposition takes place back in the day in the Australian Outback where two of three criminal brothers on the run are caught by the law and are given a proposition: if Guy Pearce (the middle brother of the family who’s been caught) brings in his straight-up evil older brother, the law will let Guy and his younger brother go free in turn. It’s got a real Cain and Abel feel too it and it’s one bad mother.

It’s the debut effort by director John Hillcoat (who’s also putting out The Road this Fall), and it’s a beautiful, yet brutal experience in equal parts. The brutal aspect is pretty much due to the script written by first-timer Nick Cave (frontman of the band Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds) who outright shits on the notion of sugarcoating life in the Australian West and puts together one in-your-face morality story that most screenwriters would kill for on their first try.

And the beauty part comes in the form of the Australian Outback itself. It’s not often that the setting of a movie ends up playing as much a part of the story as the characters do, but it’s clear from the get-go that everyone and everything is affected by it in some way or another. The scenery is nothing short of breathtaking and it’s something else to see what big sky country is really like. And not like Texas-big sky country, this is the real shit.

That’s right, Texas. Consider yourself messed with.

But the story is great, the characters do not fuck around what.so.ever., they’re backed up by great actors (Ray Winstone and Danny Huston – awesome), and this is the only Western I’ve seen that even comes close to making Clint Eastwood and John Wayne look like pussies. That’s like sacrilege for me to say that, but I’m serious, this movie’s not pulling punches. Very violent, the bad guys are seriously coldblooded, and man, it sure does a great job of conveying that life in the Outback sucked ass.

I’ve recommended this movie to a number of my friends and more often than not they come out less enthusiastic about it than I thought they would, which is always a bummer. The main compliant across the board being that it’s too slow. I’ve never noticed it, but then again I might be a little biased because I love Westerns. Love, love, love, Westerns.

So if you’re not hopped up on Pixie Stix when you watch movies and don’t need explosions every half-second to not be bored, or if you’re just looking for a good Western, or if you just like kick-ass movies with ruthless, hardcore dudes who would make you lose all bowel function if they stared at you for too long, then go watch The Proposition. It’s a personal favorite of mine and one of the few movies I actually own.

Screw that Baz Luhrmann Australia crap. This is freakin’ Australia.

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