Saturday, 12 March 2011

Film Review: THE PROPOSITION (2005)

Director: John Hillcoat
Running time: 104 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama/Western
UK Release date: 10th March 2006

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 12th March 2011.


This one was recommended to me after I watched, and very much liked, The Road (2009) by the same director. Although it’s set in Australia in the 1800’s, it has very much the look and feel of a Spaghetti Western. It’s an interesting film with some nice ideas, but I just didn’t seem to be able to connect with any of the characters. More of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don’t wish to know anything about the plot please track down that murderer while I write the next paragraph).

Charlie Burns and his young brother, Mike are captured by Captain Stanley and his troops. They are wanted in connection with the brutal rape of the pregnant Mrs Hopkins and the murder of her entire family at their homestead. The older brother, Arthur, has escaped into the hills. Stanley propositions Charlie with either tracking down and killing his brother Arthur or seeing his beloved younger brother Mike hang in nine days. He takes off in search of Arthur but events out in the bush and back in town are about to take a turn for the worse for both Charlie and Stanley… I’ll leave my summary here so as not to incur the wrath of the spoiler police.

It’s a pretty well made film, as I said, in the style of a Spaghetti Western. Some stunning scenery on view, credit to the cinematography for that. Decent performances all round, particularly from Guy Pearce as Charlie Burns and Ray Winstone as Captain Stanley. Both stood out in this one. Emily Watson was also good as Martha Stanley, as was John Hurt as the bounty hunter, Jellon Lamb.

As I said at the beginning, I found it quite hard to connect with any of the characters, good or bad. I guess they had no redeeming features in my eyes. I like the concept of the film, but the way it was executed, cutting back and forth between Charlie’s search for his brother and events back in town with Captain Stanley, didn’t work for me. I found it a bit of a mess over all, but not all bad, there are some scenes in there that I really like, but maybe not enough to make me want to watch it again.

My score: 6.7/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:
Official Site (Australian):