Subscribe to watch - 14-day free trial, then £4.99 a month

The Proposition 18 rating

John Hillcoat and Nick Cave's brilliant, brutal bushranger western, with Guy Pearce as the outlaw tasked with tracking down his psychopathic elder brother (Danny Huston).

Western 2006 104 mins

Director: John Hillcoat



Australia, the 1880s; a furious gunfight between the police and a gang of outlaws ends with Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) and his simpleton younger brother Mikey (Richard Wilson) in chains, captured by Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). Stanley has a proposition for Charlie: if he finds and kills their psychopathic elder brother Arthur (Danny Huston), perpetrator of unpardonable atrocities and, Stanley fears, capable of worse, he and Mikey will be spared. If Charlie fails, Mikey will hang. Without another option, Charlie sets out on the trail of his murderous kin, while Stanley returns to his homestead, fearfully protective of his wife (Emily Watson) and his position, which is being undermined by influential local landowner Eden Fletcher (David Wenham).

The Proposition is a committed bushranger western with an impeccable cast. Evocatively filmed in the hostile Outback, it is a dazzling, flyblown spectacle, referencing the foreboding landscapes of John Ford and the blood, guts and gore of Sam Peckinpah. Amidst ominous surroundings, John Hillcoat's direction is claustrophobic, close and unsettling, while longtime collaborator Nick Cave supplies an exquisite score and, gaining a screenwriting credit for the first time - a superb script, comparable to his unassailable musical output: at turns unforgiving and brutal, at others, romantic and tender.