Review: The Proposition

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(Scene from the DVD).

Set in the spacious Australian Outback during the 19th C. Bushranger Era, this grisly Western revolves around the efforts of the authorities to bring to justice a brood of bloodthirsty brothers known as the Burns Gang. Wanted “Dead or Alive” for rape, murder and plundering, this bloodthirsty Irish clan crosses the frontier to elude the authorities.

But when younger brothers Charlie (Guy Pearce) and dim-witted Mike (Richard Wilson) are caught, the crafty sheriff (Ray Winstone) who captures them makes an offer they can’t refuse.

The lawman proposes that their lives will be spared if and only if they help track down and kill their psychotic elder brother, Arthur (Danny Huston). The ensuing moral quandary sits at the center of The Proposition, a mesmerizing melodrama of Shakespearean proportions which touches on much larger social issues concerning color, class and colonialism on course to its shocking resolution.

For this thought-provoking historical drama is not a superficial shoot-em-up, but rather a sophisticated inquisition into the mistreatment of aborigines by whites, of the Irish by the British, even of Blacks by other Blacks.

Impressive cast includes Oscar-nominees Emily Watson and John Hurt. A movie made memorable by its stark juxtaposition of breathtaking panoramas and gruesome super-realistic slaughter, like a compelling cross of Sam Peckinpah and Ang Lee.

Very good (3 stars). R for expletives, ethnic slurs and graphic violence.
Running time: 104 minutes.  Studio: First Look Home Entertainment

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