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The Proposition

Tom's Recommended Film of the Week

The Proposition

Australia in the 19th Century was as least as wild as the American West from what I understand of the history. There were aborigines, outlaws and lawmen, though I think in many ways their outlaws were more brazen and bloodthirsty and their lawmen more civilized than what we had in our western territories. At least that's how it seems in The Proposition.

The interesting thing about The Proposition is our perception of the characters as good or evil and how this changes as the film progresses. A simple premise takes on added meaning over time and with added character interaction. Intentions and true natures are revealed through situations and our stance shifts, as does that of the characters. The plot draws substantially from Jaws, in that a lawman is undermined in his responsibility to serve and protect the community from a savage force by bureaucratic callousness, petty townspeople's demands and sloppy performance of subordinates, forcing him to step outside the normal boundaries of law enforcement to resolve the problem. There are also similarities to A History of Violence in that a man is compelled to destroy his brother in order to escape his past.

All these classic themes are there in The Proposition, plus solid performances by Ray Winstone, Danny Huston and Guy Pierce and good camera work of stark scenery. You might even discover something new about the use of camels in western Australia. But I will caution potential viewers that this is a very violent and grim film, similar in nature to the spaghetti westerns and the Peckinpah films of the 70's. If that doesn't deter you, I think you will find value in The Proposition.