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MatchFlick Member Reviews
The Proposition
7 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
John Hillcoat

Written By:
Nick Cave

Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, John Hurt, David Wenham, Emily Watson

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The Proposition (2006)
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Movie Review by Chris
October 26th, 2008

'The Proposition' is one of the darkest, most violent western films I have ever seen. Shot in Austrailia, directed by John Hillcoat and starring Guy Pearce and Ray Winstone, 'The Proposition' is a great movie. As Ben had pointed out in his review, the cinematography is amazing. There is a lot of desolate feelings here and the landscapes match the emotions of most of the characters, so the lands are empty and actually beautiful. The film plays out very calmly and we feel the end, though it never really leaves a mortal and such, it still plays out as interesting and an almost perfect movie. It deals with a character who must make a decision in which will change everything and the actors are terrific. Ray Winstone and Guy Pearce are absoulutely terrific, they work together perfectly. 'The Proposition' is a beautiful and graphic film, not for the faint of heart, but for people who have a heart and can understand the feeling of a life changing decision.

Rural Australia in the late nineteenth century: Capt. Stanley and his men capture two of the four Burns brothers, Charlie and Mike. Their gang is held responsible for attacking the Hopkins farm, raping pregnant Mrs. Hopkins and murdering the whole family. Arthur Burns, the eldest brother and the gang's mastermind, remains at large has and has retreated to a mountain hideout. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from the gallows by finding and killing Arthur within nine days.

One of the most fascinating things about this movie as a whole is the directing and cinematography. John Hillcoat directs this lower budget film with almost perfection, its very calm and subtle, and capturing the landscape is very important with a western movie. Most westerns rely on shootouts and action to set up the movie, but in 'Proposition' a lot of the shots are wide and focus mainly on a sun set or the landscape. There are a few shots on top of a rock where Charlie's brother sits and relaxes, he watches the sun set and the sun rises. It's set up by having a wide shot of two characters and the sun in the middle, its a beautiful thing to watch.

Guy Pearce plays as Charlie, who must save his little brother by killing his big brother. He must make a choice in which he must find this hate for his older brother and have a reason for killing him. But when Charlie gets speared by some crazy locals he gets taken in by his brother and his friends, he heals and eventually sees that his brother really cares for him. So they finally just join together and help each other save Mike. Guy does a great job with his character, who's mostly calm and brave. He has barely any facial expressions but it shows us how little Charlie cares about Stanley and all those guys, but he still cares for his brothers. One of the most fascinating performances in the movie is Ray Winstone, who plays as Captain Stanley. Stanley is a smart ass and they guy behind this insane proposition. He messes up by coming up with this though, as people begin to see what his plan was and he screws everything up. He actually plays a very emotional role in which I didnt fully understand, but I could see by the way his eyes tear up and everything like that.

'The Proposition' is very dark and violent, which is different when it comes to how westerns are usually approached. Usually the lighting is cranked up to get a better view of the sun and such, but its toned down just enough to fit the films main mood. There are a few shootouts and a couple execution style killings, each matched with copious amounts of violence, which is still different from most westerns. I had no problem with it because it was approached with some reality. Instead of just blowing peoples heads off and stuff it was carefully seen and studied well.

'The Proposition' is beautiful and brutal, but it tells a heart breaking story which some may not be able to handle.

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