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The Proposition (2005)

Guy Pearce , Ray Winstone , John Hillcoat  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, John Hurt
  • Directors: John Hillcoat
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: First Look Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GIW9I2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,461 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Proposition" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director and Writer Commentary
  • 5 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
  • Still gallery
  • Previews

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A savage Western set in Australia's Outback, The Proposition is relentless in its intensity and bloody imagery. Set in the late 19th century, the film tells the brutal story of a gang of brothers that kills not out of desperation, but because they can. Arthur Burns (Danny Huston) is the mastermind who shares little in common (other than total disregard for human life) with his younger brother Charlie (Guy Pearce, L.A. Confidential, Memento). When Charlie and their baby brother Mike (Richard Wilson) are captured, Charlie is offered a proposition to save their necks from the gallows. "Suppose, Mr. Burns, I was to give both you and your young brother Mikey, here, a pardon," offers Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). "Suppose I said that I could give you the chance to expunge the guilt beneath which you so clearly labor.... Now, suppose you tell me what it is I want from you." Without blinking, Charlie says, "You want me to kill my brother." For most people, this would be an unthinkable proposition. For Charlie, the answer's obvious. He'll do whatever he has to spare his own life, even if that means trading his for Arthur's. The Proposition at times is a difficult film to watch. But thanks to a compelling story by rocker Nick Cave and a supporting cast (including Emily Watson as the Captain's gentle wife), the film is a classic in the making. --Jae-Ha Kim

Product Description

Rural Australia in the late nineteenth century: Capt. Stanley and his men capture two of the four Burns brothers, Charlie and Mike. Their gang is held responsible for attacking the Hopkins farm, raping pregnant Mrs. Hopkins and murdering the whole family. Arthur Burns, the eldest brother and the gang's mastermind, remains at large has and has retreated to a mountain hideout. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from the gallows by finding and killing Arthur within nine days.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 135 people found the following review helpful
When I first saw John Hillcoat's film The Proposition I was literally shocked and dumbstruck with what I had just witnessed. As a long-time aficionado of the horror genre I could say that part of me has become desensitized to onscreen violence and nothing really shocks me. Even though I've seen films with more violence throughout its running time, The Proposition just had a heavy sense of despair, moral ambiguity, and a Miltonian feel throughout. The film felt like how it would be if one accepted an offer from one of the damned to stroll down to the Nine Circles of Hell. As much as I didn't want to accept that offer the curiosity of what I might see won out. That's how I was able to sit through the entirety of Hillcoat's ultra-violent and nihilistic tale of lawless and amoral individuals in the untamed wilderness of 1880's Australian Outback.

I must agree with film critic Roger Ebert when he said The Proposition seemed to mirror another dark and violent tale. Hillcoat's film shares so much the same themes and tone as Cormac McCarthy's brutal novel, Blood Meridian, that one almost wondered if the film was adapted from McCarthy's great novel. But similarities aside, Hillcoat and Nick Cave's (director and writer respectively) film can clearly stand on its own two bloody legs.

The film begins with a bloody siege and shootout and we're soon introduced to two of the three Burns' brothers. We soon find out that both brothers, Charlie (played by Guy Pearce)and Mikey (played by Richard Wilson) are outlaws wanted for a multitude of heinous crimes with a recent one the senseless rape and murder of the Hopkins family. One Capt. Stanley (Ray Winstone) who acts as law in this particular area of the Outback. He's gives older brother Charlie a proposition.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and brutal June 10, 2006
This film has often been compared to Eastwood's spare and dark UNFORGIVEN. There are certainly many similarities in tone. But if anything, there is even less redemption available at the end of this Australian western than at the end of that Oscar winner.

Simply put, Ray Winstone plays the equivalent of the "new sheriff" in a very small, dreary dusty "western" town in Australia. The worst bandits in his area, the Burns brothers, are his primary goal, and when he corners and captures the two youngest brothers, Mickey and Charley (Guy Pearce), he offers Charley a proposition. He and his simple younger brother will be released if Charley goes out and kills his psychopathic older brother Arthur. If not, Mickey will be hung on Christmas Day, a few days away.

The fallout from this simple proposition is bleak, bleak, bleak. The film is slow moving and takes time to establish tone and to let us savor the unbelievable Australian scenery. As John Hurt (as a bounty hunter) says, it's the most horrific place he's ever been. The scenery is beautiful (sunsets, colorful rocks) and brutal...long expanses of sand and scruff. But the slow pace is punctuated with moments of extremely graphic violence. Each bullet hole or knife wound (or spear wound) is painful to watch. I'm not sure when I last saw a movie that made violence appear so unpleasant, so painful and so ugly.

Everyone in the film is great. Guy Pearce...exceedingly grubby...is torn between deciding how to deal with one of his brothers inevitably dieing. Ray Winstone gives a rich performance...just when we think we've got this guy figured out, he shows another layer. And then another. He wins our sympathy finally. Emily Watson is his wife, and her performance is a litle colorless...
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Kind Of 'Western' September 17, 2007
Format:DVD
Wow, what a brutal "western." I put "western" in quotes because most people think of the western half of the United States as being the locale for western movies. This movie was made and set in Australia but the time frame is similar: around 1880. What's "brutal" about the story is the violence, bloodshed and language - but only in spots.

The language is odd in that the vocabulary of most of the people is above-average, but be warned there are a number of f-words. I question whether that word was around in the 19th century, but it's prevalent in this film. Actually, the violent scenes will be more offensive to viewers than the profanity. Like the profanity, however, the violence only comes in spurts. Most of the film has much calmer moments, surprisingly low-key.

One thing that is there throughout the 104 minutes is the excellent cinematography. This is a pretty film, nicely shot with some beautiful scenery and colors, stylish at times, too. To me, this was the best part of the movie. It's indeed a visual treat. Benoit Delholmme deservedly won several international awards for his camera-work in here.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Still Value In "The Western" September 25, 2006
Format:DVD
Historically, and from a character perspective, there's still mining to be done in western films, and THE PROPOSITION gives us a great sense of both. Aussie director John Hillcoat delves into Australia in the 1880s, telling about the bloody lawlessness and aboriginal prejudices.

The story centers around the outlaw Burns brothers, Charlie (Guy Pearce, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL), Mike (DECK DOGZ) and Arthur (Danny Huston, THE CONSTANT GARDNER). When Charlie and Mike are caught by local lawman Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone, COLD MOUNTAIN), Charlie is pulled aside and given a distasteful proposition: kill your brother Arthur and Mike will live. Charlie loves Mike dearly and hardly knows his other brother, Arthur. He grudgingly accepts the terms but it quickly becomes clear that he's unsure what to do. Is the killing of one family member in order to save another morally apprehensible? What if your moral boundaries are skewed?

Charlie rides off to find his brother in the searing Australian Outback.

Meanwhile, back in town, Captain Stanley is having great difficulty controlling its citizens once they learn one of the dreaded Burns brothers is in the local jail. A powerful bureaucrat named Eden Fletcher (David Wenham, THE LORD OF THE RINGS) demands swift justice. He orders that Mike Burns be lashed 100 times. Knowing that Mike probably won't survive this, but also battling feelings his lovely wife Martha (Emily Watson, GOSFORD PARK) has about the crimes Mike has committed, Captain Stanley is forced to give in to the township's demands.

Back in the Outback, Charlie finally runs into his twisted brother and comes face-to-face with his worst fears: killing someone of his own flesh and blood. Can he do it? Should he do it?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst movie ever, son. Don't bother.
This is the worst movie I think I've ever seen. It is hellishly boring. I have no idea what all the other positive reviews are all about. You people are all on drugs. Read more
Published 4 days ago by samspennell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great movie. Great acting. Great production.
Published 18 days ago by David Krausse
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie!
I was especially fond of the soundtrack. The mood of the movie is reminiscent of "Dead Man" with Johnny Depp, but more disturbing emotionally. Very dark.
Published 1 month ago by Steven M Hedges
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as they try to make it sound
Thought the movie was lame. Wish I didn't buy it...maybe I can trade it or just throw it away. Will have to wait and see.
Published 1 month ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars A Savage Civilization
A striking work of genius, set in the Australian outback of the 1880s, The Proposition stands among the best "westerns" made in the last 30 years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by redboat
3.0 out of 5 stars ????
This was an alright movie. But it wasn't one that we would easily recommend to others. The trailer we saw was slightly misleading.
Published 3 months ago by Kay Papa
5.0 out of 5 stars Australian Western
I'd call this an artistic version of the spaghetti western, imaginative and
original yet extremely violent and crazy. Read more
Published 4 months ago by New Yorker
4.0 out of 5 stars A Less Gratuitous "Django"
Australia was still clearly a convict prison in the 1800's, and these 3 brothers were the most slippery of that day. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Just finished watching this film and I am speechless! As much as it is a very brutal piece of cinema, I can honestly say I truly loved every moment of this film! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Natasha Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth your Time
The setting for this film is quite fitting for this story. The best part of this movie is the realistic view of life at the turn of the last century in outback Australia. Read more
Published 6 months ago by marvin steres
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Two DVDs?
They're both US versions, and as far as I know they both contain the same disc. The difference is, the full color one with Guy Pearce on horseback is in a standard plastic case, while the one that features the gold/black image of Guy's face with a gun is a Steelbook edition (in a metal DVD... Read More
Aug 25, 2008 by Alex Faber |  See all 2 posts
This DVD was defective. Be the first to reply
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