It was laziness that kept me familiar with musician Nick Cave only as someone to confuse with Nick Drake. Thanks to Beth, I can now say I've had an education on the Drake.
Guy Pearce's mug on the dvd cover for The Proposition is the reason I picked this film up because he never lets me down -- Memento, L.A. Confidential, ...Priscilla. So it's Guy that gets the credit for clueing me in that Nick Cave can write moody and charged music and has enviable screenwriting talent as well.
The opening scene confronts with a violent chaos throwing you right into the dust of the wild wild west of late 1800s Australia. In order to win the freedom of his younger brother, Guy Pearce must track down and kill his older brother who is responsible for terrible acts of violence and murder. Giving him a period of days to accomplish this, local lawman Ray Winstone puts his authority and reputation on the line.
The breathtaking hostility of the land provides the backdrop for a morality tale with familiar themes but an uncommon beauty in the telling. Director John Hillcoat manages a significant amount of tension even as he leads us to an inevitable conclusion. The violence, while brutal, is used sparingly and to great and graphic effect and he draws memorable performances from the whole cast which includes Emily Watson and John Hurt.
After I'd finished rhapsodizing about the film, I asked my friend John what he thought and he said "It was boring".
So there you have it, a balanced look at The Proposition.