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THE PROPOSITION

Director: JOHN HILLCOAT

AUSTRALIA-U.K • 2005 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 103 MIN.


THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN ROCKER NICK CAVE AND DIRECTOR JOHN HILLCOAT SPARKS EXCITINGLY WITH THIS BLEAK AND BRUTAL OUTBACK WESTERN. TAKING A SOLO SCREENPLAY CREDIT FOR THE FIRST TIME, CAVE HAS CRAFTED A TENSE EXTENDED STAND-OFF BETWEEN ENGLISH POLICE OFFICER RAY WINSTONE AND THE FAMILY OF IRISH CRIMINALS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MURDER OF A PREGNANT WOMAN.
Cornering hard-bitten Guy Pearce, he offers a deal which sets the latter free to track down the gang leader, his older brother (a scary Danny Huston), providing he brings him back in time for Christmas, when Winstone threatens to hang their youngest sibling. As Pearce rides off into the wilderness, local bigwig David Wenham objects to the arrangement which has freed this wanted felon, but his determination to pursue the harshest of justice will prompt only the bloodiest of consequences. With much Sergio Leone influence on the deliberate pace and epic landscapes, the film tips its hat to the traditional western, yet the colonial tensions of the 1880s are much in evidence, since the attempt to impose order on these lawless vistas involves the violent suppression of the indigenous population as well as the striking incongruity of Winstone’s posh wife Emily Watson insisting on celebrating Christmas with a proper tree and turkey dinner.
Confrontation is looming between these genteel aspirations and the outlaws’ ruthless cold steel, but in the meantime Pearce’s understated moral fulcrum, colourful dialogue by the yard, and a scene-stealing John Hurt as a grizzled bounty hunter keep attention firmly rooted to the screen.

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