The Proposition (2005)

The Proposition (2005)
The Proposition (2005) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –

Charlie Burns (Guy Pierce) and his little brother Mike are outlaws captured by police in the Australian outback in the late 1800s.  Police Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) gives Charlie a chance to free himself and his little brother Mike; all he has to do is hunt down and  kill his older brother Arthur Burns (Danny Huston).  Arthur is the leader of a gang responsible for the brutal slaying of a family, actions which Charlie and Mike witnessed.  Charlie is torn between family loyalty and his brother’s violent nature, but ultimately resolves to save Mike’s life by killing Arthur.

A Toast

The Proposition is a hypnotic and often ominous western, full of deeply unsettling imagery, exploring the darker side of humanity.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…


Ok, you’ll probably not laugh…

It is perhaps unsurprising that the screenplay was penned by singer/songwriter Nick Cave, who has always put these themes at the forefront of his music.  The Film’s score was performed and written by Cave alongside longtime collaborator Warren Ellis.  Director John Hillcoat was a perfect collaborator, as his flair for dark and moody visuals perfectly complement the screenplay.

Ok, maybe “moody” wasn’t descriptive enough

There is the wind-swept town, where civilization fights a losing war with the elements, and Captain Stanley’s prim & proper Victorian home, eerily out of place in the Australian outback. These are contrasted with the arid desert and badlands, where poetry goes hand in hand with mortal danger.

The film’s cast delivers solid performances all around.  Guy Pierce shows quiet restraint, and moral conflict between his mission and his loyalty to people he’s known his entire life.  Danny Huston on the other hand delivers a savage character who philosophizes away conventional morality, while preaching family values.  Ray Winstone delivers a savage character who longs for the moral righteousness of English society, and feels driven to “civilize” Australia at any cost.  And one of the film’s best characters is Jellon Lamb (John Hurt), an English bounty hunter and traveler extraordinaire.

John Hurt

And he will absolutely kill the shit out of you, or die trying

In this world, those outspoken with their values are more likely to break them, and the most brutal killers follow a code of honor.



A stylish and humanistic Western, of the highest order.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for the body count

Take a Drink: whenever the score swells morosely

Do a Shot: whenever Captain Stanley states that he will “civilize this land”

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

One comment

  1. Hope Hillcoat’s next gets back on this track. Lawless was a real letdown.

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