Directed by: John Hillcoat
Premise: This Western, set in the Australian outback, tells the story of Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) and his attempts to bring justice to the Burns Brothers (Guy Pierce, Richard Wilson, and Danny Huston).
What Works: This is a very impressive film, rivaling any American Western since Unforgiven. It has some of the trademarks and themes of the genre, but brings a new spin to the Western by adding elements of horror, which integrate very successfully into the story. The relationships between the Burns Brothers are very interesting but what is more interesting, and the larger focus of the film, is Stanley’s relationship to the community, to a local politician (Eden Fletcher), and to his wife (Emily Watson). The film deals with the juxtaposition of civilization and savagery and the story allow the two to become so convoluted that the film’s moral compass gets lost.
What Doesn’t: Some of the movement of the characters across the geography and the relationship between locations is hard to understand. Outside of the Burns Brothers and the Captain and his wife it is sometimes difficult to comprehend the character relationships.
Bottom Line: The Proposition is a very good Western, one of the best made in recent years. It includes elements of action and horror and uses elements of those genres to give new life to the Western. This is recommended for fans of Unforgiven, The Wild Bunch, and the original The Hills Have Eyes.
Episode: #100 (June 11, 2006)