Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Proposition (2005)

"I will civilize this land."
- Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone)

"You got me, Charlie…what’re you gonna do now?"
- Arthur Burns (Danny Huston)

In a brutally painted Australian outback of the 1800s, an obsessed policeman (Ray Winstone) tries to track down the most murderous of three brothers, by threatening brother number one (Guy Pearce) with the murder of brother number two (Richard Wilson) if he does not kill brother number three (Danny Huston). The heat of the landscape is enhanced by a washed out, yellow-tinted photography. Just as brutal as Apocalypto, but obviously made in a sincere attempt to chronicle the true, violent side of this era with a gritty realism (rather than simply showing exploitative violence). Mean-spirited, but at the same time respectful of its subjects, and beautifully filmed. A stellar cast (Emily Watson, John Hurt, David Wenham) gets to shine, as does the famous Australian aboriginal actor, David Gulpilil, as Jacko. This genre (like horror) is not appealing to me, so I cannot give it my highest marks, but of its ilk, it is excellent. Rating: 2.5 of 4 reviewed 28 Nov 2007

"Murder ballad for the slice-and-dice age, a film of sensitive artistry laced with gore."
- Amy Biancolli (Houston Chronicle)

"An amazingly rich, vicious Western."
- Jeffrey M. Anderson (Combustible Celluloid)

"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."
- Colin Covert (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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