User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 76
  2. Negative: 2 out of 76
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  1. JonathanH.
    Jun 3, 2006
    10
    An excellent film, especially when viewed in a movie house. Visually stunning and a good story too.
  2. Brutus
    May 16, 2006
    7
    Wildly overpraised movie, especially in the English and Australian press. Lots of violence, lots of ham-fisted allegory, lots of banal "insight" into Australian race relations, and copious amounts of fringe of pain overacting. For all these flaws, the film nevertheless brings the extraordinary landscape of western Queensland to life, and captures the severity and harshness of the Wildly overpraised movie, especially in the English and Australian press. Lots of violence, lots of ham-fisted allegory, lots of banal "insight" into Australian race relations, and copious amounts of fringe of pain overacting. For all these flaws, the film nevertheless brings the extraordinary landscape of western Queensland to life, and captures the severity and harshness of the Australian outback and its chequered history. Deserves some credit for reminding us all that racism, madness and bloodthirsty excess are not the exclusive preserve of the American West. Amongst the violent protagonists, Guy Pearce and David Gulpilil take out the acting honours, simply by being halfway restrained while everyone else in sight whips themselves into a frenzy of biblical wrath, moral ambiguity and eye-rolling depravity. John Hurt has a bit of fun as a drunken bounty hunter, Ray Winstone and Emily Watson attempt to counterpoint the malevolence with some "civilised and repressed" posturing, but to no great effect really. David Wenham is effectively slimy as a local bureaucrat of sorts, who orders the fatal whipping of the (obligatory) halfwit. The whole thing ends rather anticlimatically after an excruciatingly brutal Xmas dinner, with dysfunctional brothers Guy and Danny wandering off across the sunblasted landscape to die together, while simultaneously speculating on the unhappy nature of families. Almost as cringe inducing as the "Knocking on Heaven's Door" sequence in "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid", in fact - a movie that this movie is far too close to. So, this is principally a movie for people that think Sam Peckinpah was some kind of visionary, and who think biblical symbolism is really , like "powerful" - and not simply an outdated artistic device. Much more boring than you might think from the reviews. Expand
  3. Battlejuice
    Jul 18, 2006
    10
    Fantastic film. Very harsh and brutal yet flowed with an almost fairy-tale quality where good and bad blended into grey to the haunting tunes of Nick Cave. I found there was a supernatural feel to this film on top of the harsh wild world that was colonial Australia. Magnificent.
  4. AlexP
    Mar 2, 2008
    10
    Better, more relevant and more real than all the trigger happy, gunslinging, sheriff hero excuses for a western film out there. If you like pistol duels at high noon try watching this to see what a real western with real characters should be like.
  5. DanC.
    Jan 4, 2007
    8
    An extremely good film with a harsh, unrelenting take on violence and the way it consumed good and bad people alike. It makes a very powerful impression.
  6. PaulH.
    Jun 15, 2006
    7
    A worthy addition to the Western canon..The script is excellent in parts as is some of the acting-and yet that is only half the story for the movie is let down by some characters who are terrible stereotypes and who take much away from the drama and realism of this film.Cave's soundtrack is memorable and i for one love the references to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Not as A worthy addition to the Western canon..The script is excellent in parts as is some of the acting-and yet that is only half the story for the movie is let down by some characters who are terrible stereotypes and who take much away from the drama and realism of this film.Cave's soundtrack is memorable and i for one love the references to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Not as sensational or as bad as some would have you believe but still worth a look Expand
  7. GrantT
    May 9, 2006
    9
    A flawed but rivetting film, harsh, frightening, dirty where the human soul is exposed for what it is - good and bad with all shades between. The script and cast (especially Danny Huston) are outstanding.
  8. MarcK.
    Sep 30, 2006
    7
    The first half of the flim was pretty slow, but once the action got going, it became a powerful and entertaining film. Surprised that Ray Winstone hasn't had more acting opportunities in America...this is another superb job by him. Completely unimpressed with John Hurt's "cameo" appearance. I don't think it added anything to the film.
  9. Mase
    May 15, 2006
    7
    Down and Dirty, visually stunning and definatley no holds barred western. Grips you at times but also tends to be slow moving. My only gripe is I had a hard time finding a sould in any of the characters to justify much of what was going on. But definatley stands head and shoulders over many of the westerns over the last decade. This is how they should be done.
  10. BaronL.
    May 17, 2006
    9
    Dark and savage like many of Nick Cave's songs. Great addition to the genre.
  11. PhilS.
    May 2, 2006
    10
    brilliant. Engaging, beautiful and arresting all in the same breath.
  12. KenG.
    May 31, 2006
    10
    Raw, dark, stark, suberb.
  13. BTn
    May 6, 2006
    10
    amazing: great acting, makes Unforgiven look 2D.
  14. GaborA.
    Jun 6, 2006
    7
    Its most saving grace is the fact that it was a western. Being 21 its probably the only good western I've seen in theaters in my lifetime. Its biggest downfall was that it really could have been so much better.
  15. JohnB.
    May 1, 2007
    9
    It took me a several times watching this movie, but I finally understand it. The Proposition is an amazing work of art that brings to attention the harshness of the land and the way it affected the lives of so many. In a land without law or justice, grand sweeping cinematic visuals paint a landscape captured perfectly. What makes The Proposition truly unique is the way motives clash and It took me a several times watching this movie, but I finally understand it. The Proposition is an amazing work of art that brings to attention the harshness of the land and the way it affected the lives of so many. In a land without law or justice, grand sweeping cinematic visuals paint a landscape captured perfectly. What makes The Proposition truly unique is the way motives clash and the plot weaves such a fascinating turn of events. You almost wish the characters could be more decisive in their actions but by contemplating things, we are allowed to fully understand the predicament each character faces. The Proposition almost plays out like a modern day Shakespearean tragedy. While I can see how this movie could be overwhelming at first, it deserves to be treated more like a work of art being viewed multiple times to fully grasp what is presented here. Expand
  16. ChadS.
    Nov 27, 2006
    8
    "The Proposition" has one helluva flogging scene. As a meditation on violence, this one particular moment bests anything in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven". Up to this point, there was some concern on my part that the constant narrative shifts away from Charlie's journey might be hurting the film. And it does so in one important aspect; reaching his brothers' hideout "The Proposition" has one helluva flogging scene. As a meditation on violence, this one particular moment bests anything in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven". Up to this point, there was some concern on my part that the constant narrative shifts away from Charlie's journey might be hurting the film. And it does so in one important aspect; reaching his brothers' hideout doesn't seem much of an arduous undertaking, although the distance must be considerable. All that time compression hurts that epic feel that a film like Nicholas Roeg's "Walkabout" has. As Charlie (Guy Pearce) searches for his brothers to carry out some vigilante justice; back home, Martha (Emily Watson) discovers that she doesn't have the stomach for an "eye-for-an-eye, and tooth-for-a-tooth" way of doing things. The story of the sheriff and his wife is needed to show that even an outback needs the law. "The Proposition" is a beautiful, and brutal film. Expand
  17. DWilly
    May 13, 2006
    8
    This would be a worthwhile film if only for the opportunity it affords Ray Winstone to demonstrate his phenomenal talents; but it also captures a place and a reality about the savage history we all share in the modern world. The movie is consistently surprising because, like "Unforgiven," it doesn't play to easy stereo types.
  18. TracyB.
    May 29, 2006
    10
    Great film- I am not a fan of Westerns but this won me over. From the direction, acting, screenplay to the music- it was a first rate effort that hit its mark. Yes, it is violent, but many of its worse events were not shown in detail, although many were and they furthered the story and the mood of the film.
  19. H.C.
    Sep 21, 2006
    9
    Fantastic Australian-western. I haven't seen a western this good since Unforgiven (not including the TV show Deadwood--which is excellent). Guy Pearce and Ray Winstone really hold down this film along with the sort of fairy-tale dialogue amid this wretched violence and hard reality. The two brothers (Richard Wilson and Danny Houston) also give really memorable performances. I really Fantastic Australian-western. I haven't seen a western this good since Unforgiven (not including the TV show Deadwood--which is excellent). Guy Pearce and Ray Winstone really hold down this film along with the sort of fairy-tale dialogue amid this wretched violence and hard reality. The two brothers (Richard Wilson and Danny Houston) also give really memorable performances. I really wished I'd seen this in the movie theater as the landscapes are also just huge in the film. Bravo to Nick Cave and the director Hillcoat. What a great find this movie was. Expand
  20. May 8, 2011
    9
    Beautifully shot, impeccably acted out, cohesively written and a cast worthy of box office stardom but it's modesty is almost immaculate. The film's subtle underlying message is clear and is conveyed without adrenaline-inducing violence but in an odd sense, poetic, almost symbolic, violence. However, though a thorough story and excellently executed, it's lack of action, for a western,Beautifully shot, impeccably acted out, cohesively written and a cast worthy of box office stardom but it's modesty is almost immaculate. The film's subtle underlying message is clear and is conveyed without adrenaline-inducing violence but in an odd sense, poetic, almost symbolic, violence. However, though a thorough story and excellently executed, it's lack of action, for a western, leaves a minor gap in the movie. Not to say that's a bad thing... Expand
  21. Aug 5, 2012
    9
    Directed by John Hilcoat and written by iconic Australian musician and novelist Nick Cave (the two have previously collaborated, on 1988's "Ghosts... Of The Civil Dead"), The Proposition is a gritty and unflinching modern western set in rural Queensland in the 1880's. The film opens with a furiously chaotic shootout, bullets ripping through the tin shack where bushranger brothers CharlieDirected by John Hilcoat and written by iconic Australian musician and novelist Nick Cave (the two have previously collaborated, on 1988's "Ghosts... Of The Civil Dead"), The Proposition is a gritty and unflinching modern western set in rural Queensland in the 1880's. The film opens with a furiously chaotic shootout, bullets ripping through the tin shack where bushranger brothers Charlie and Mikey Burns are holed up following the rape and murder of a local family. The brothers are swiftly overwhelmed and captured by British expatriate Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). Stanley is not satisfied with his victory, however, because the real villain remains at large - Athur, the eldest and most dangerous Burns brother is hiding in the ranges with the remainder of his posse. Rather than simply imprison them both, the captain presents Charlie with an ultimatum - track down and slay Arthur within nine days, or Mikey will hang from the gallows on Christmas day. It's a swift and effective introduction, giving us a telling taste of the violence and desperation that fill the rest of the film. Charlie locates his brother with ease, but gathering the courage and willpower to murder family is another matter. Arthur (Danny Huston) is an intellectual psychopath, quoting poetry and philosophising on life while carrying out brutal and heinous crimes. His eccentric personality and unflinching taste for extreme violence have developed for him a near-mythical legend status, and neither the local police nor the aboriginal tribesman are willing to hunt him down. Huston's brilliant performance is as charasmatic as it is unnerving, and is one of the highlights of the film. The bond between Arthur and the other posse members is unbreakable - the very definition of "mateship". As a result, he is fiercely determined to free Mikey and seek revenge on Stanley, and in no way suspects the impending betrayal from his brother.

    Back in town, Captain Stanley faces his own dillemna - businessman Eden Fletcher, who all but owns the local law enforcement, has demand that Mikey receive one hundred lashes a preemptive punishment for his crimes. Stanley knows that the ordeal would surely kill the boy, and in doing so nullify his agreement with Charlie and bring down the wrath of the remaining gang members. It's a harsh and uncomprimising narrative - can Stanley resist the bloodlust of the townsfolk and stay true to his moral code while still managing to bring about justice?

    The performances are exemplary, the entire cast potraying their characters with comfortable ease. The Proposition is filled with a vast array of minor characters, mostly crude and cruel men who are as much a product of the harsh country as they are of their convict backgrounds.

    Cave's script is tight and focused, the dialogue spot-on. The score, also written and performed by Cave with the assistance of violinist Warren Ellis, is unusual but highly effective, filled with murmering whispers and bleak soundscapes. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, perfectly capturing the achingly beautiful landscape with wide, open shots. These elements come together to create a realistic insight into colonial Australia, perhaps the most accurate recreation to date.

    The Proposition has been praised for its cynical but accurate potrayal of white/aboriginal relations in colonial Autralia; the white townsfolk treat the aboriginals in an extremely patronizing and condenscending manner. The racial juxtaposition is perhaps best exemplified by Captain Stanley's property - a fenced-off recreation of traditional (and relatively luxurious) English housing that greatly contrasts with the sorrounding countryside. The colonists are stubborn intruders, attempting to bring "civilization" to the vast land and in doing so destroying a rich and unique culture formed over thousands of years. A refreshing take on the dying western genre, The Proposition is so vigorously paced, so shocking in its violence and so beautifully shot that it demands the viewer's full attention. I can't recommend this one enough.
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  22. Dec 29, 2014
    8
    The Outback, as well as "The Proposition," is just as punishing and unforgiving as the men who roam it -- and it's savagely entertaining. The film takes all the familiar ingredients of the Western with an Aussie spin. Unlike your typical Western movies, it's much darker, downbeat, and brutally violent.

    Set in rural Australia in the late nineteenth century, Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is
    The Outback, as well as "The Proposition," is just as punishing and unforgiving as the men who roam it -- and it's savagely entertaining. The film takes all the familiar ingredients of the Western with an Aussie spin. Unlike your typical Western movies, it's much darker, downbeat, and brutally violent.

    Set in rural Australia in the late nineteenth century, Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a criminal living in the outback. He and his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey (Richard Wilson), are outlaws wanted for rape and murder. Arthur is a violent and dangerous cold-blooded sociopath, much more so than his siblings, and is wanted by the law. The authorities capture Charlie and Mikey after a bloody shootout, and the brothers are handed over to Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone), a British lawman sent to Australia to help bring order to the colonies. The Captain's proposition to Charlie is to gain a pardon for both of the brothers, by tracking down the elusive Arthur and killing him. Charlie scours the backwaters of Australia, but isn't certain if he can carry out his mission.

    A movie you cannot turn away from; heartless and uncompromising, filled with disregard to innocence and civility. One of the strengths of "The Proposition" is its relentless moral ambiguity. Characters that would be heroic in more conventional Western movies show their darker sides here. It's a tough and uncompromising story, but it's superbly written, features terrific acting on all fronts, and its beautiful cinematography captures this desolate landscape where only the strongest survive.
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  23. Mar 11, 2013
    10
    A well-paced, violent and hard-edged western; it has the classic vengeance storyline, but it´s completely different from the other westerns out there. Very gritty script, brilliant performances, flawless cinematography. Coupled with a heart-rending score, this movie comes as close as they do to perfection.
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    60
    A good film, but it should’ve been a great one.
  2. A fascinating, mythological western.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Kuipers
    80
    Hillcoat and Cave have here found their most fertile ground yet for allegory-rich examinations of life and death in remote, pressure-cooker environments.