The Proposition - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Proposition Reviews

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July 13, 2015
Plays out like an adaptation of an unwritten McCarthy novel. Its fricken depressing as any dire situation could be, but pretty to look at and listen to.
½ June 29, 2015
The cast is awesome, and they do a really good job with the material they had to work with. However, the movie meanders, and ends without ever seeming to get anywhere. With the glowing reviews it had received I expected more-a lot more.
½ May 24, 2015
Cinematic alchemy. A great film.
April 16, 2015
not enough westerns on the go these days, not typical either
March 6, 2015
A dustcoat-western set in the outback, that focuses on equality in man, death, justice and race.

The film affirmatively has an amazing script and a rather talented crew (director John Hillcoat, director of the film Lawless that centered around the exhibition of alcohol in the 1930's and the brothers who bootleg it), but for the first time I am gonna target one person as the reason this film is not enjoyable throughout, Ray Winstone who performs with a lackluster results as Captain Stanley. His role is as the morally tormented Cap of the troops stationed in a racist and lawless town in the middle of the desert, his role as-well as the other troops are supposed to impose that the law is as nasty as the killers they are looking for throughout the film, although Cpt. Stanley is more stricken by the things he does to the natives and or any who get hurt in this film.

Any scene with Ray Winstone is boring and his execution- poorly acted- role does nothing to make you care in the slightest what happens to him or his wife, which is un-believable. His role diminish's the proven talent that is Emily Watson, who plays his wife who struggle to come to terms with the barbarity of her husbands job as he tries hard to be just and right for her, Emily Watson of course will always have her role in Lars Von Triers Breaking the Waves as a CV for her acting skills at there best. Other actors give out a above and below performance that lets the film to play out nicely.


A captain capture two of the brothers of a gang who have gone have a warrant for there arrest after they killed, murdered, raped and pillaged a family that are not detail in the film, but they are called Hopkins occasionally. He makes them a prostitution that he will hold the youngest of the two, Mikey helpless young and needy, while the older will go and find his other brother to bring him in, Charlie played by Guy Pearce like Clint Eastwood's legendary character Blondie, not much room for dialog, just that 800 yard stare. He reluctantly accepts the offer and set out to find his brother and his gang. Before leaving he pays respect in a quickly passing scene were he rides passed slowly the newly made grave's of the family that died, Hopkins. Later it is obvious it his dog-like brother who is the one who kills mercilessly with the help of his followers. A scene in the bar later in the film with the legendary British actor John Hurt, who professionally fills any space left in the film by Ray Winstone poorly played role, hopefully his years in the business will rub off on his counter parts. Hurt plays a bounty Hunter out for Charlie's brother. His introduction as a drunk is quickly covered by his hidden intellect as he has the best dialog in the film as he mentions how Darwin says they a decedent from apes, making a racial slur, that taps on the film many racially driven plot-lines.

A clever western set in turmoil days of Australia's early years that may have gone under the radar when it was released in 2005, but does show a well dressed and styled film with every scene in the film showing how dirty and infested the plain's of the desert were, greasy hair, dried blood and a lens filter or possibly lightening work that bounces back the grey-dull colors back with a stand out brightness while any dark colors like grit or meridian red blood lay on the screen like wet paint on a canvas. Its great make-up costumes and cinematography are not equal to all of its cast, while most stars in this film give it there best, I say it again Ray Whinstone scenes are boring, the film would be more interesting and have a better punchline if it cut his scenes from the film. They would have had a nice little short film that would played much like a silent film. But those scenes with Captain Stanley are important to the plot so a re-cast was in order.

An okay western with a effective, rough-painted canvas. A few blunt tools that needed replacing but it's meaning and and definitive solace ending makes it through, covered in blood and wounds- with a burning layer of sand and dust like salt to the wounds. I'm not saying it was all one actors fault, although I thought he was a bad choose, the film is not perfectly executed, especially with its cuts to and from the brothers losing itself between with each scene leaving behind a eager watcher to a boring scene from a good one. John Hurt is the most stand-out performance and his has a 20 minute screen time, years in acting makes great of old actors.
½ February 9, 2015
Beautifully acted, skillfully filmed, and intelligently written, The Proposition is a brutally violent western shot in the rustic outback of Australia. This is an impressive work that feels like a classic western but has an intriguing Australian setting that sets itself apart.
January 20, 2015
John Hillcoat's Outback western, written by musician Nick Cave, is as brutal and menacing as the landscape in which his film is set. Benoît Delhomme photographs with the most gorgeous colour pallet as Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) tries to save himself and his younger brother Mike (an engaging Richard Wilson) from the hangman's noose by turning in their malicious older brother Arthur (a solid Danny Huston). It's the sort of premise that invites a number of moral conflicts, and such the talent that Pearce is, we are able to see the burden of his dilemma without needing them to be discussed; it truly is a remarkable performance. There's also complexity in the supporting characters. Ray Winstone and Emily Watson are particularly fine; his own moral compass is challenged when trying to keep his side of the proposition, and she delivers the film's most memorable scene when sitting in a bathtub, describing a dream. A film that is as beautiful as it is ugly, 'The Proposition' is an intense experience.
December 30, 2014
One of the best western of the first decade of the 21 century.I f you think 19 century America was lawless just think about Australia.But I must advert you that the proposition is not for the fainted heart
!Guy pierce is great.
December 29, 2014
The Outback, as well as "The Proposition," is just as punishing and unforgiving as the men who roam it -- and it's savagely entertaining. The film takes all the familiar ingredients of the Western with an Aussie spin. Unlike your typical Western movies, it's much darker, downbeat, and brutally violent.

Set in rural Australia in the late nineteenth century, Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a criminal living in the outback. He and his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey (Richard Wilson), are outlaws wanted for rape and murder. Arthur is a violent and dangerous cold-blooded sociopath, much more so than his siblings, and is wanted by the law. The authorities capture Charlie and Mikey after a bloody shootout, and the brothers are handed over to Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone), a British lawman sent to Australia to help bring order to the colonies. The Captain's proposition to Charlie is to gain a pardon for both of the brothers, by tracking down the elusive Arthur and killing him. Charlie scours the backwaters of Australia, but isn't certain if he can carry out his mission.

A movie you cannot turn away from; heartless and uncompromising, filled with disregard to innocence and civility. One of the strengths of "The Proposition" is its relentless moral ambiguity. Characters that would be heroic in more conventional Western movies show their darker sides here. It's a tough and uncompromising story, but it's superbly written, features terrific acting on all fronts, and its beautiful cinematography captures this desolate landscape where only the strongest survive.
December 18, 2014
I really don't get the appeal of this film. I saw it back in 2005, and I was underwhelmed. Watching it for a second time, I'm still underwhelmed. It's made out of elements that I like, but they don't feel put together in any of the right ways for me. It meanders from violent scene to violent scene without amounting to much of anything.
November 30, 2014
A decent Western, that happens to be set in Outback Queensland in the 1890's. Plenty of beautiful cinematography and scenery, with Cave & Ellis' soundtrack adding to the eeriness (but still not quite as good as any actual Bad Seeds' songs). It's pretty slow-paced, with moment s of quick brutality interspersed, but feels long and drawn out overall, even though it's only 95min long. Winstone is good as the Captain, but Pearce & Huston in particular don't hhave enough to do, seeing as they're the story's centrepiece - two brothers at odds over their bushranger lives. Neither do Hurt, Wenham or Gulpilil have enough screen-time. A good effort, that never quites reaches it's potential.
½ November 29, 2014
Pearce is great as the silent lead in this gritty western, that's directed with style and written gracefully and gothic.
½ November 6, 2014
A western in a very unexplored setting, The Proposition may follow some familiar narrative tropes, but it powers through with it's excellent cast, thought-provoking themes, and sheer raw direction
½ October 20, 2014
The Proposition is without a doubt the most gory and disturbingly violent western I have ever seen...but damn if its not also one of the most beautifully filmed and stunningly acted ones as well.
½ October 20, 2014
very good western... good cast as well... nicely done....
September 4, 2014
As good and weird as you'd expect a movie written by Nick Cave to be.
August 27, 2014
Best western of past 20 years
½ August 5, 2014
If you ask me, Westerns are a dying breed of cinema. Maybe that may seem like an obvious statement at first, but when you stop and consider that within the last 16 years, "Unforgiven" has been the only western I would label above standard. The problem stems from a serious lack of confidence with these directors. My theory is that because the Western has become synonymous with imposing names such as Eastwood, Sergio Leone, Peckinpah, and Wayne, nobody wants to take a chance and put their names in comparison. The irony being that directors have egos and love nothing more to boast about their product.
"The Proposition" begins with a grisly and violent gun battle. It's as if director John Hillcoat wants to blatantly express his intentions to resurrect the genre himself. One has to admire the boldness.
Guy Pearce of Memento fame, plays Charlie Burns, a cliched western criminal complete with greasy long hair, a full and overflowing beard, and a deadly/itchy trigger finger. His hideout, who he shares with his still wet behind the ears younger brother Mikey, is raided by the local law officer Captain Morris Stanley (Winstone). Both Charlie and Mikey are captured. Though both are wanted criminals, they pale in comparison to their older brother Arthur (Huston). The captain presents Charlie with a proposition: Find and kill his fugitive older brother in return for the full pardon of he and Mikey. As collateral, Mikey is taken into custody while Charlie is given a horse, a gun, and 8 days to find Arthur or else Mikey will be executed.
As with most Westerns, the general story and plot are quite simple. However, when complex human emotions such as betrayal, retribution, and loyalty are factored into the equation, it leads to a film with a greater sense of purpose.
Charlie isn't the only character harboring an emotional as well as personal dilemma. Captain Stanley, though coarse, does believe in fairness stemming from the law he hopes to bring to the land. His fellow towns folk, including the mayor, do not share quite the same feelings of honesty and try to influence his decisions. Stanley desperately wants to cling to his ethics of being in good faith and honoring his offer to Charlie, but is quickly being stiff armed by the towns folk to just kill Mikey anyway.
The movie is breath taking and beautiful. Visually, at times I could almost believe that Sergio Leone had came back from the dead just to direct this film. Everything from intense close ups that magnify minute facial details to grand vistas are presented here with such lushness. The fact that the film takes place in Australia only aids the director with never ending landscapes that could be passed off at times as paintings.
To be considered a truly good Western, I firmly believe that the director must base 50% of the picture on great Westerns of the past. The other 50% must be their own contribution as to what they feel is significant to not only the film but the genre itself. I am perfectly honest when I say that I loved this film. I have been longing for the day that a director would become motivated enough to show me that they have what it takes to compete with such masterful productions as "Magnificent Seven", "The Good the Bad and The Ugly", and "The Wild Bunch".
½ June 30, 2014
The Proposition exceeds greatly due to its beautiful and at times gritty storyline and a strong cast that exceeds on all the necessary levels
June 11, 2014
The Outback, as well as "The Proposition", is just as punishing and unforgiving as the men who roam it, and savagely entertaining. The film takes all the familiar ingredients of the Western with an Aussie spin, but unlike typical Western movies, it's dark, gritty, downbeat, and brutally violent.

Set in rural Australia in the late nineteenth century, Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a criminal living in the outback. He and his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey (Richard Wilson), are outlaws wanted for rape and murder. Arthur is a violent and dangerous cold-blooded sociopath, much more so than his siblings. The authorities capture Charlie and Mikey after a bloody shootout, and the brothers are handed over to Capt. Stanley (Ray Winstone), a British lawman sent to Australia to help bring order to the colonies. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from death by finding and killing Arthur within nine days in this brutal, scathing, hard-edged Western. Charlie scours the backwaters of Australia, but isn't certain if he can carry out his mission.

Captain Stanley is intent on taming Australia: he has been forced to move there with his delicate wife, Martha Stanley (Emily Watson), and apparently wants to make it an appropriate place for them to live. Bringing a bit of Britain to the Outback, trying to civilize and structure the grueling landscape, attempting the impossible. Note the well kept, modern home with the white picket fence in middle of the relentless Outback, completely out of place and downright comical.

A movie you cannot turn away from; it is so heartless and uncompromising, filled with disregard to innocence and civility. More blood is probably spilled in "The Proposition" than any Western I've ever seen and, and director John Hillcoat's lofty goal is to make art from incredible carnage. Men are stomped to death, whipped to their last breath, speared, shot at point blank; I could go on. The strength of "The Proposition" is its relentless moral ambiguity. Characters that would be heroic in more conventional Western movies show their darker sides. It's a tough an uncompromising story, but it's a superbly written, features terrific acting on all fronts with beautiful cinematography capturing the desolate landscape where the strongest survive.
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