Sometimes you go to the cinema hoping for a good film, but thinking that what you are about to watch isn’t going to be fun, it may not even qualify as entertainment. The Proposition written by Nick Cave had that sort of an aura to it.
An Australian western, about a brother possibly heading into the outback to kill a brother in order to save another brother. A western that has far more in common with the violent realism of Unforgiven rather than the over the top, almost cartoon violence of some other westerns. It often makes for hard viewing.
None of the characters are the sort you’d want to take home and meet the family. Arthur Burns is a psychopath, middle brother Charlie took part in a robbery turned rape turned murder before leaving his elder brother. The police officer, Ray Winston’e Captain Stanley is the sort of man who would use one brother against another in an attempt to “civilise the land.” But at the same time you can sympathise with some of the characters, to a certain extent. Seeing Stanley with his wife won’t help you forgive some of his actions, but it does offer a sympathetic side. Likewise, Charlie’s desire to protect his younger brother Mike shows a less violence aspect to his character.
The great cast of actors are matched by some wonderful cinematography. The camera work doesn’t really make you want to go and live in the sand and grit, but it does convey the beauty and harshness of the landscape. And the amount of flies.
There is plenty of violence, and you see the effects, although it only rated a 16s here in Ireland, despite the censor’s warning of strong gory explicit violence. There are no bloodless deaths, nor off screen departures here. Everything is very sudden, and very real. And combining this with the occasional bit of poetical dialogue and the soundtrack makes for a great film. You will have to be in the right frame of mind to watch this film, but I’d highly recommend it.