Sunday, March 12, 2006

Review: The Proposition

The Proposition is scripted by Nick Cave, which should give you some indication of what it will be like.

Whilst you may not think it from the previous post, HL and I love a good violent movie with a good plot (that last point is crucial: we saw the trailer for the Eli Roth film Hostel and I can't even begin to think why I would want to be in the same cinema as that film). Mind, we did pretty much double the female presence at the screening: hilariously there were two women sat behind us who could probably be us in 15-20 years time. A most unlikley pair to find in this screening, but they seemed to enjoy it as much as we did!

Anyway, the film.

After a slow-paced credit sequence using old photographs and a lilting music track, the first sequence proper of the film sets its stall out: ricocheting bullets against flesh, metal, and wood. It's a startling beginning, if hardly unexpected given the movie genre. From there you follow on with torture and betrayal - as you would also expect from Cave. And there are the usual smatterings of biblical reference points - count the flog strokes for starters - plus a suitably desperate if closure-providing ending.

That all makes it seem a little ho-hum perhaps?

Not true at all.

The cinematography is breath-taking, making the most of the Australian landscape. The sound is appropriately subtle and exaggerated in turns: you can almost taste the presence of the flies. The violence is brutal, but never misplaced or unnecessary to the plot or the emotional journey of the characters. And most of all, you never feel disconnected from those characters: something that is all too easily done in films featuring violence (a kind of "why should I care?" distancing). That is achieved via some fine acting from people such as Guy Pearce, Ray Winston, and John [sorry: I mean DANNY] Huston.

It also has humour: okay, so that's some very bleak Australiam humour maybe, but humour nonetheless. Some of it is hidden in passing remarks, but if you catch it you will laugh.

Overall then a very worthwhile film to see. Probably not for the faint-hearted - it is an 18 certificate after all - but if we coped, then I guess most of you will.

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