Friday, April 17, 2015

The Proposition (2005)

Director: John Hillcoat
Writer:    Nick Cave
Cast:       Ray Winstone, Guy Pearce, Emily Watson

A lawman (Ray Winstone) apprehends a notorious outlaw (Guy Pearce) and gives him nine days to kill his elder brother, or else they'll execute his younger brother. Film is set in Australian outback of the 1880s. 

Both the director and screenwriter are known for their involvement with Western films and this one is another one of those. Nick Cave is a man of many talents and have been involved in various films as musician, composer, screenwriter and actor. As far as moderns films in western genre goes, Andrew Dominik's 'Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford' is the standout film along with Coens' 'True Grit'. One could consider Tarantino's last two films as Westerns but they are also many other things to be truly considered as a genre film. His next one, 'Hateful Eight', will be a typical Western film and when it comes out we can compare it with the other two I have mentioned earlier so as to ascertain where it stands in comparison. Knowing Tarantino these days, he might self indulge the shit out of it.

As for 'The Proposition', one can deduce from the plot synopsis itself that the story is pretty basic and it is all about the grittiness of the setting and the performances from the excellent cast that it has got. I am a huge fan of Guy Pearce and have always felt that he is quite underrated. He should have been in more films and maybe it is a choice that he is making from his part by opting out of shitty money-grab films. John Hurt plays a cameo in it and  is among the more interesting of characters from the film. The elder brother character played by Danny Huston was quite underwhelming. Film is largely told through the POV of the lawman character played by Ray Winstone.

Overall it is a great watch without being compelling enough to be termed as a great one. Maybe it was an intentional subversion of genre by taking away any humor, set-piece scenes or larger than life characters from it. The songs that are used in the film are like ballads and the film was commended for highly accurate portrayal of its aboriginal characters. Australia really did seem like a hellhole and the outbacks maybe still is. It was shot in Queensland. Guy Pearce starrer 'The Rover', which can be called a post-apocalyptic Western, is a better film than this and is highly recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5