The Proposition

The Proposition


“The Proposition” is a prime example of what is wrong with critics. Critics love “The Proposition.” And it is quite a good movie, perhaps the best Western of the decade, and surely the best Western from Down Under. So what is wrong? Well, they love it too much, elevating the film more than it ever could pay off. The critics wanted you to see this. They were probably surprised. However, anybody who’s heard a review of this movie will not be surprised. They know it’s going to be good. I expected it to be…well, I don’t know…life changing. I think the poster told me it would be.

Rian Johnson had the right idea when he took “Brick” to Sundance (a very good flick, one of the best of its year—do check it out). Cinetic, the distribution services team wanted to make a big show about how great this film was. Johnson and company said, NOPE. Let’s not set the bar too high. Let’s get the folks walking into the theatre, not knowing exactly what to expect and—WHAM. That’s what he got. The film became a huge success and sold well. I’ve seen it twice and it brings a smile to my face. Then again I didn’t know what I was walking into when I bought the ticket to take the ride. Maybe if it was labeled “The film noir to redefine and end all film noir” I might think, well it was good…

And the movie we are here to discuss today is good. Really good. What more could you expect? The acting is vicious and spot on. The visuals are mesmerizing, yet fittingly dark to fit the tone of the tale. The music (by screenwriter Nick Cave) is wonderful. The directing assured. The action intense. What more could you want? For you, maybe nothing more…but I wanted to be elevated and moved beyond words and grip by seat like several critics promised me. The film didn’t let me down. The critics did.

So, and not that I consider myself a critic, here is what I am going to do for you. First a question: do you like westerns? This question is sort of irrelevant, because I would tell you to watch the film either way: genre doesn’t define good versus bad; the storytelling does. Anyway, here’s what I want you to do.

Take a look into “The Road.” Watch the film and be disappointed, perhaps worn out, bored, shaken by its dreary desperateness. Then take a look at “The Proposition.” I am going to tell you it is from the same director, John Hillcoat, and again has music by Nick Cave. I’ll tell you the characters are darker and harder than in “The Road,” and that it is an even more ferocious and heartless journey. You think, “Aw, man. Maybe I should just skip this one. ‘The Road’ was enough.” But…I get you to watch it anyway, and going in, all you can think about is that this is from the guy who made “The Road.”

You’re welcome. Enjoy.

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