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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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PROPOSITION, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In the outback of 1880s Australia, yet another gunfight between the police and a gang of outlaws leaves carnage in its wake. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) and his brother Mikey (Richard Wilson) are captured by Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). Their psychopathic brother, Arthur (Danny Huston), is hiding somewhere in the bush; all three are wanted for a brutal crime. Stanley makes Charlie a devastating proposition in an attempt to bring an end to the cycle of bloody violence.

Review by Louise Keller:
This is the film Ned Kelly should have been. The Proposition is a superbly crafted, hard-hitting drama about loyalty and conscience. The first thing that struck me about the film is the tone. In his second screenplay, Nick Cave has injected his unique touch with his distinctive music and occasional poetic prose seeping into the subliminal. The music has a hard edge, countered by its Irish lilt. John Hillcoat's non-compromising direction clearly captures the harshness of the times, with its conflicts and discrimination issues.

Even the trees are gnarled in this unrelenting environment. Violence is part of life in remote Australia at the end of the bushranger era, and there is little by way of homely comforts. Yet although Ray Winstone's Captain Stanley gives tough orders in the local jail where he works, his home is like another world. Surrounded by a rose garden, and with the refinement of a very English teacup, his saviour is his English rose wife Martha (Emily Watson). She is his solace, and the juxtaposition of the daily brutality with this elegantly coiffed lady of the house who wears corseted gowns and a prim manner, is almost shocking.

The story assembles piece by piece. The Byrnes boys are a nasty lot. The latest escapade that resulted in the rape and death of a young woman, prompts serious action. After the opening shoot out, Captain poses his proposition to Guy Pearce's Charlie, offering a trade of the life of his young brother Mikey (Richard Wilson) for the life of Arthur (Danny Huston), the group's callous leader.

The Proposition is a fine film. It's tough and never shirks from making its point, while at the same time nurtures delicate emotions. The performances are all extraordinary - in particular Winstone's conflicted Captain, who lets us in to feel his internal agony. Pearce is back at his best too, and David Wenham makes every screen moment count in a small role. This is a haunting and powerful film that creeps up on you and swallows you whole.

Managing Cultural Heritage is the theme of the DVD's behind the scenes featurette, and advisor Pearl Eatts talks about the cultural significance and the process. Director John Hillcoat talks about the significance of some of the locations, while producer Chris Brown touches on the indigenous issues that are part of the background of the story.

Published February 23, 2006



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PROPOSITION, THE: DVD (MA)
(Aust/UK, 2005)

CAST: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Emily Watson, David Wenham, John Hurt, Tom Budge, David Gulpilil, Leah Purcell, Richard Wilson, Tom E. Lewis,

PRODUCER: Chris Brown, Cat Villiers, Chiara Menage, Jackie O'Sullivan

DIRECTOR: John Hillcoat

SCRIPT: Nick Cave

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Benoit Delhomme

EDITOR: Jon Gregory, Ian Seymour

MUSIC: Nick Cave

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chris Kennedy

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 6, 2005

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes feature, trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: February 22, 2006







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