7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A triumph for all involved,
This review is from: The Proposition [DVD] (DVD)
I was blown away by this film when I saw it the first time at the cinema and was equally impressed when I bought this 2 disc package and watched it again in the privacy of my own home. With an unforgettable opening scene involving a terrifying shoot-out, it throws the viewer immediately into a maelstrom of savagery and lawlessness. This is the Australian Outback in the 19th Century - not a place for the faint-hearted or weak of spirit. Trying to make sense of it all is Captain Stanley, a respectable Englishman and robust officer of the law, and a well-mannered, doting husband to his dear wife, Martha (Emily Watson).
Upon capturing Charlie Burns, one of the most dangerous outlaws in the region, and his younger brother, Mikey, Stanley takes the gamble of a lifetime when he offers Charlie a pardon and the release of his brother for the head of Charlie's older brother, Arthur. What makes this film so gripping is the way in which the tension hangs so heavily in the stifling heat, a tension that is punctuated effectively by various acts of shocking brutality, desperation and betrayal in keeping with the film's unforgiving setting. Guy Pearce's portrayal of the staunch Charlie Burns is a triumph despite the fact that for much of the film, he is a solitary, silent figure. As a previous reviewer has suggested, it could be argued that both writer and director are rather too much in thrall to Ray Winstone's character (Stanley) as he appears on-screen far more than Pearce's. However, it would be churlish to criticize this aspect of the film too heavily - if at all - as Winstone's performance is one of utter magnificence.
Tense, violent and occasionally nauseous (notably, the scene in which young Mikey gets flogged), this is nevertheless one of the best films I've seen in recent years, and everyone involved in its making should be congratulated.