Thursday, March 01, 2007
The baddest badass in the Wild West would have a tough time with the lethal, contentious rogues who roam the Outback in The Proposition, John Hillcoat's violent fable of fraternal dischord in 19th century rural Australia. Ray Winstone, playing the lawman of a feral terroritory, says he'll spare outlaw Guy Pearce's life if he finds and kills his older outlaw brother (Danny Huston) in nine days. The production value of the movie is impeccable: the landscape is beautiful, but it is a dangerous beauty, and the actors are seamlessly dirtied up, both physically and psychologically. The only currency in this godforsaken land is revenge and threat and intimidation, and it's fascinating to watch Winstone reconcile his quest for justice with his desire for peace. Emily Watson plays his fragile wife, and the two create a strange, sad relationship that is withering in the harsh heat of lawlessness.