movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006


A few weeks ago, I wrote in regards to THE PROPOSITION that we “needed a cool western.” After seeing it, I am still waiting for a cool western. While it is not cool, THE PROPOSITION is a damn good movie that caught me off guard. Screenwriter Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat have created an interesting look at revenge, guilt, redemption and family.

This story begins with the loud bangs of gunshots tearing through the tin walls of a house. It catches you off guard, jolting you into exactly where Hillcoat wants you as he unfolds his tale. When we meet Charlie and Mike Burns (Guy Pierce and Richard Wilson), they are smack dab in the middle of a gunfight with the local police, headed by the fierce, but well-intentioned Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). They are obviously outmatched and are soon overpowered and we find ourselves at a table with Charlie, Mike and Stanley where a proposition is made.

We do not know who these men are or what they have done, but what we do know is that The Burns brothers are “bad” men and there is one more out there and he is the worst one and the one that Stanley is after. The proposition is as follows: Stanley will take the younger and more innocent Mike back to town and in a week he will be hung. The only way that Charlie can save his young brother is if he goes off with a horse and a gun, track down his older and feared brother, Arthur (Danny Houston), and kill him. If he does this in time, he and Mike will be pardoned. That is the deal and that is how the movie starts, Mike taken off in chains and Charlie riding off into the sunset to kill his brother.

While the story of THE PROPOSITION is kinda cool, it is not groundbreaking and it is not what makes this an interesting film. A simple task with complex emotional results. What makes this a really good film is the subtext and the layers that come in the quiet moments. What does it mean to be family? Is there a way to find your own redemption even if what you have done in your life is unforgivable? How fine is the line between punishment and revenge? How large of a price do you pay if you cross that line? This is a simple story, and there are some really cool moments, but it raises a series of questions that will continue to make you think long after you leave the theater.

Along with writing a challenging and complex script, Nick Cave also contributed the score and the music for the film. There are a few times where the music takes center stage and became a distraction for me, but for the most part, it works beautifully well with the haunting images and difficult script. He incorporates a poetic spoken word kind of chanting with his music and the result is captivating.

Hillcoat, along with cinematographer Benoit Delhomme captured a hellish world with their representation of the Australian Outback. It is dirty, dry, stark and radiates with heat. The sunsets are stunning, but that is the only beauty and we are left to wonder how it is that these people are living here in the first place. The perfect location for a story with such moral ambiguity. There are no good guys in this tale because this place attracts the fringe elements and what we are left with is the darker shades of grey.

THE PROPOSTION is hard to watch in many ways. It is shockingly violent in parts. Most of our time is spent with despicable human beings. There is no real happy ending that is ever possible. But there is a surprising tale of human complexity and morality. If you like a movie that might shock you but will also make you think, this is a movie for you. This is one of the best surprises of the year for me will stand as one of the best films of 2006.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mi3 is the worst movie of century. acting bad,slow,repetitive weak plot how top 5?

8:35 PM  
Anonymous celebrity babes said...

I too love the PROPOSITION. It was a best one I have seen in that year. The ending was quite surprising but still it was the best. I will watch it again as I want to have some great time.

1:30 AM  

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