The Proposition Reviews

Top Critic
Ben Walters
Time Out
June 24, 2006
A beautifully shot tracker's western that brings the Fordian poles of garden and desert to bear on the bushrangers' Outback, this is also a revenge drama of substantial horror.
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
June 22, 2006
A visionary tale of a fragile civilizing impulse crushed by family loyalty and a lust for revenge in the vast Outback of the late 19th century.
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
June 9, 2006
It doesn't offer much that hasn't already been said about lawless frontier towns, bonds between outlaws or the settling of the West.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
June 9, 2006
By the end, it all pays off exactly the way a hundred earlier Westerns did.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Peter Debruge
Miami Herald
June 9, 2006
In-your-face combativeness is The Proposition's power, and for those of you who value your westerns, the effect is not unlike that of The Wild Bunch or Unforgiven.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
June 8, 2006
It's fitting that The Proposition is set Down Under, because in many ways, it's a reverse Western.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Tom Long
Detroit News
June 2, 2006
An intense piece of wilderness ugliness that mixes family, honor, decency, revenge, racism and mindless blood lust in a manner that satisfies even if it never astounds.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
May 26, 2006
The squeamish should skip this film. But its recurring violence seems justified in terms of the story Cave sets out to tell and is up a familiar alley for the songwriter who has an album called Murder Ballads.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
May 26, 2006
Murder ballad for the slice-and-dice age, a film of sensitive artistry laced with gore.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
May 26, 2006
This is the crucial proposition The Proposition misses: To make us truly despair about the face of violence, it must be firmly attached to someone we know, and not merely blown off someone we don't.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
May 26, 2006
A near-masterpiece of mood and menace, and one that deserves to be seen on the largest screen possible.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
May 25, 2006
It's consistently compelling and thought-provoking. This one will stay with you, and despite its disturbing moments, you'll welcome it.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 25, 2006
A revisionist western that brings its own brand of sanguinary honesty to the genre.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
May 25, 2006
Offering proportionate measures of raw violence and lyrical soliloquizing, the Peckinpah-influenced The Proposition is for those who prefer their western action unvarnished but immaculately framed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 25, 2006
Hillcoat creates a vision as nihilistic as any horror film ever put on a screen, but so well acted and carefully conceived that it transcends exploitation.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 25, 2006
The movie gets at something primal in the pit of your stomach, something that speaks of loyalty and betrayal, of men's souls -- or the lack thereof.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 20, 2006
A pitiless yet elegiac Australian Western as caked with beauty as it is with blood.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
May 19, 2006
I'm guessing that Hillcoat wants us to see The Proposition as a howling, heartsick message from our savage selves. The story is ugly, but there's some beauty in the telling.
| Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Michael Booth
Denver Post
May 19, 2006
Over the top, Down Under.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 19, 2006
Have you read Blood Meridian, the novel by Cormac McCarthy? This movie comes close to realizing the vision of that dread and despairing story.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
May 18, 2006
Mr. Huston, Mr. Pearce and Mr. Winstone give especially luminous performances as Arthur, Charlie and Captain Stanley.
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
May 18, 2006
It's a terrific, kinetic experience, and it's also a brilliant showcase for a crackerjack ensemble of great actors.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
May 18, 2006
The strength of The Proposition is its relentless moral ambiguity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 8, 2006
Really intense stuff.
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
May 5, 2006
There are intense confrontations and quiet bits of dialogue that delve into the souls of the characters. The stars, especially Pearce and Winstone, fully inhabit complex, unglamorous roles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
May 5, 2006
The quality of the acting, Cave's hellfire score and the heavy atmospherics of the directing merely dress up a cliché: Violence leads to more violence.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
May 5, 2006
A psychological Western more in the mold of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven than the John Ford films its stark cinematography resembles. It's about a good man, Stanley, who does bad things, and a bad man, Charlie, fighting his conscience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
May 5, 2006
The Proposition is no bloodier than many a schlocky horror flick, but the violence feels real and ruthless, carrying a much more visceral impact.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
May 4, 2006
This Australian western, written by the darkly moody musician and author Nick Cave, tells a story of murder in the outback that is as cruel as it is aesthetically flamboyant.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
May 4, 2006
The bonds of family are the centerpiece of this highly uneven, hyperviolent film.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
F.X. Feeney
L.A. Weekly
May 4, 2006
The Proposition is a very hard and harsh movie, but it also has a hypnotic, lyrical velocity.
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
May 4, 2006
Had Cave written The Proposition as a song, the vague grotesquerie and simple, primal storytelling might've been an asset.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
May 2, 2006
The climactic Christmas Day dinner of dreadful retribution is a terrifying prospect, but for anyone with a yen for our great lost genre, it's also some sort of gift.
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
May 1, 2006
Directed by John Hillcoat, it shows humanity striving for a New Testament way of life with a Cain-and-Abel drama on the doorstep.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 6, 2006
This Down Under horse opera is violent, grim and stunningly good.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 19, 2005
A mesmerizing Australian western that occurs in a raw and brutal land.
Top Critic
Richard Kuipers
Variety
September 19, 2005
Hillcoat and Cave have here found their most fertile ground yet for allegory-rich examinations of life and death in remote, pressure-cooker environments.