This is an excellent DVD package. On Disc 1 you get the superb main feature. On Disc 2 you'll find a raft of extras: loads of interviews and a Making of documentary that's almost as long (118 minutes) as the feature itself!
As for the film itself, the first point that must be made is that this is NOT a Western. Anyone who calls it a Western has no idea what they are talking about. A Western is a film about events taking place in the American West during the second half of the 19th Century, i.e. circa 1850-1900. There may be some variation on the date or location, e.g. drifting across the border into "Mehico", but what we're talking about is the good old Wild West.
The Proposition takes place in the Australian Outback in the late 19th Century. The parallels that exist with Westerns are fairly obvious (brutal landscapes, drifters on horses, indigenous population being mistreated by white settlers, gun-play, etc.) but that's where the similarities end. This is a morality tale concerning white settlers (British and Irish), indigenous aboriginals and local whites in Australia.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film for its beautiful photography, interesting characters, tense and foreboding story and brief history lesson on white settlement of the Australian Outback - not a subject one is overwhelmed with in films today.
The acting is outstanding from everyone in the film. Danny Huston (Arthur Burns) caught my eye in particular. Arthur, although a very violent and disturbing man, also comes across as intelligent, educated and not lacking a certain amount of integrity, at least where his `family' is concerned.
Guy Pearce puts in another fine, if limited, performance. For my money, Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential, Memento), as one of Australia's leading actors, is building up a body of work that has, in my opinion, already surpassed that of Mel Gibson (Gallipoli was probably Mel's best effort) and will soon rival that of the great Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, The Insider, L.A. Confidential).
Other noteworthy performances come from the ever-excellent Ray Winstone, Emily Watson (the only female role in the film) and a very nice part for John Hurt.
Penned by Nick Cave (who, unsurprisingly provides the soundtrack), The Proposition is more than a violent tale of revenge and justice in an uncivilised and lawless land. It gets right into the heart of love, loyalty, beauty, colonialism, racism and so on.