THE PROPOSITION is set in the Australian outback, circa 1880. A hard-as-nails British officer is attempting to bring law to the wild frontier. To do so, he must stamp out an almost mythical outlaw and murderer, named Arthur Burns. Burns has two younger brothers, and the rozzers want the middle brother, Charlie, to kill Arthur. If he doesn't, the youngest brother gets strung up on Christmas Day.
The actors are all brilliantly cast and give wonderful performances. Ray Winstone is characteristically teetering on the brink of psychosis in his portrayal of the British army officer who cooks up the scheme. Arthur Burns is played by one of my favourite actors - Danny Huston - who dazzled me in Ivans XTC and has not been given the opportunity to shine again until this flick. He conjures up a truly three-dimenstional character, combining wisdom, charisma, filial love and murderous charm. Guy Pierce, of Memento fame, plays Charlie, and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Hillary and Jackie) plays Winstone's missus.
In addition, the flick is written by the multi-talented Nick Cave and has all the grizzly, bizarre-O authenticity that one might expect from his music. The movie is also photographed by the superb DP Benoit Delhomme, who also shot The Merchant of Venice and assisted on Manon des Sources and Jean de Florette. What more can I say but that, whether or not you normally go in for Westerns, you should check this film out.
THE PROPOSITION was first shown at Cannes 2005 and was part of the London Film Fest. It opened in Australia in October 2005 and opens in the UK on the 10th March 2006 and in the US on the 5th May.