Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 64 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set against the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the 1880s Australian outback, The Proposition is a visually stunning tale of loyalty, revenge and the quest for justice in a land without rule. (First Look Pictures Releasing)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    A movie you cannot turn away from; it is so pitiless and uncompromising, so filled with pathos and disregarded innocence, that it is a record of those things we pray to be delivered from.
  2. In the end, this is a film about retribution and justice within unjust circumstances. Each character has a personal code of honor -- Arthur, Charlie and Capt. Stanley are all given their dignity -- and it's that code that sets the film apart.
  3. The Proposition, a beautiful, bloody meditation on justice, family, and the trap of retribution, is in every respect an artful addition to the canon of six-shooter morality tales.
  4. 75
    A sweat-slicked, near-abstract ballet of blood and sand.
  5. 75
    The Proposition leaves you shell-shocked.
  6. 70
    The Australian director John Hillcoat makes an audacious, unsettling American feature debut with The Proposition, a revisionist western that brings its own brand of sanguinary honesty to the genre.
  7. 42
    The sketchily symbolic characters and flat plot just frame an atmosphere of sticky heat and Biblical reckoning.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. JonathanH.
    Jun 3, 2006
    An excellent film, especially when viewed in a movie house. Visually stunning and a good story too.
  2. BTn
    May 6, 2006
    amazing: great acting, makes Unforgiven look 2D.
  3. Battlejuice
    Jul 18, 2006
    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. Expand
  4. DWilly
    May 13, 2006
    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. Expand
  5. Jan 19, 2013
    The Outback, as well as "The Proposition", is just as punishing and unforgiving as the men who roam it, and savagely entertaining. The film takes all the familiar ingredients of the Western with an Aussie spin, but unlike typical Western movies, it's dark, gritty, 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. The authorities capture Charlie and Mikey after a bloody shootout, and the brothers are handed over to Capt. Stanley (Ray Winstone), a British lawman sent to Australia to help bring order to the colonies. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from death by finding and killing Arthur within nine days in this brutal, scathing, hard-edged Western. Charlie scours the backwaters of Australia, but isn't certain if he can carry out his mission. Captain Stanley is intent on taming Australia: he has been forced to move there with his delicate wife, Martha Stanley (Emily Watson), and apparently wants to make it an appropriate place for them to live. Bringing a bit of Britain to the Outback, trying to civilize and structure the grueling landscape, attempting the impossible. Note the well kept, modern home with the white picket fence in middle of the relentless Outback, completely out of place and downright comical. A movie you cannot turn away from; it is so heartless and uncompromising, filled with disregard to innocence and civility. More blood is probably spilled in "The Proposition" than any Western I've ever seen and, and director John Hillcoat's lofty goal is to make art from incredible carnage. Men are stomped to death, whipped to their last breath, speared, shot at point blank; I could go on. The strength of "The Proposition" is its relentless moral ambiguity. Characters that would be heroic in more conventional Western movies show their darker sides. It's a tough an uncompromising story, but it's a superbly written, features terrific acting on all fronts with beautiful cinematography capturing the desolate landscape where the strongest survive. Expand
  6. GaborA.
    Jun 6, 2006
    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. Expand
  7. Simon
    May 4, 2008
    One of the most achingly slow and boring films i've sen in a long time, beautifully shot, but cold have been told in 30 mins!

See all 28 User Reviews


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