The Proposition, John Hillcoat

by Lowen Howard


2005. Film. The plot is simple and direct: Three outlaw brothers allegedly ride in from the Australian outback and mindlessly murder a family living in a frontier town. Following an unrelated shootout with the authorities, two of the brothers are captured. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is given the choice of either watching his younger brother be hung in a weeks time, or agreeing to hunt down and kill his as yet captured elder brother (a Clint Eastwood type Colonel Kurtz). Near flawless performances by Ray Winstone and John Hurt delightfully flavor every scene these characters occupy. Story is ultra compelling. Some kind of a nod to a set of insoluble ethics or a constraining moral framework would be nice. Every character, every conflict, and just about every line in this film is shrouded in moral ambiguity. And yes, it’s violent.