Monday 8 December 2008

The Proposition [2005]

The Proposition, in the modern tradition of revisionist or (as some fellahs like to put it) deconstructionist Westerns – a sublime example of which is Unforgiven – is a disconcerting and unforgiving work of astonishing visual clarity and fascinating storytelling. The movie has covered the entire spectrum, ranging, as a reviewer neatly summed up, from the beautiful to the brutal, and from the mesmerizing to the menacing. At its heart lie the themes of loyalty, revenge, justice and redemption. Set against a harsh and turbulent Australian landscape, the movie starts off with a bloody gunfight following which a weary British cop gives a proposition to an Aussie outlaw – he must kill his deranged older brother in order to save his naive younger sibling from the gallows. Aided by a brilliantly laid out script, stunning photography, and a melancholic soundtrack that manages to lend an evocative air to the moments of chilling carnage, the movie is an explosive masterstroke where terrific acting performances have coalesced with a very potent message of hope amidst lawlessness and desolation. This harrowing yet profoundly lyrical tale, with its barely concealed simmering rage as well as its exceedingly disturbing depictions of loneliness, brutality, honour and conflicting conscience, is a visceral poetry on violence; in that sense another brilliant movie of recent times comes to my mind, Cronenberg’s “mainstream” masterpiece A History of Violence.

To read a more detailed review of the movie by me, click here.

Director: John Hillcoat
Genre: Western/Psychological Drama
Language: English
Country: Australia