The Proposition (2005)
IMDB Rating 7.5/10 104 min - Rated 18 Western | Crime
Stars: Ray Winstone, Guy Pierce, Emily Watson Director: John Hillcoat
In the late nineteenth century Australian wilderness, Captain Stanley (Winston) fights a desperate war with the outlaw gangs who run wild. After capturing Charlie (Pearce) and Mike Burns (Wilson), brothers of notorious outlaw Arthur (Huston), Stanley makes Charlie an offer: find and kill Arthur or their beloved baby brother Mike will hang. The pedigree wasn't all that promising for The Proposition. Director John Hillcoat had only a couple of forgotten thrillers to his name, and although Nick Cave is a respected musician he was an untested screenwriter when their film got the green light. Together they surprised the whole industry with a brooding and bloody modern classic that seemed to single-handedly reinvigorate Australian cinema. Although there's much thematic depth it is essentially a character study; an examination of what men are capable of when given no choice in the matter. Pearce offers up his best performance since L.A. Confidential and Huston is magnetic during his limited screen time, but it's Winstone you'll probably remember. He plays Stanley as a deeply contradictory figure who, in his determination to 'civilize' his adopted homeland, has ended up using determinedly uncivilized methods. His inspiration is undoubtedly beloved wife Martha (Watson), a fragile English Rose he will do anything to guard from the harsh realities of their world. In fact, so much effort is expended on her protection that it soon seems inevitable her husband's professional life will eventually intrude and the prospect looms ominously over everything.