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The Proposition

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
The Proposition
from Film Forum, 06/29/06

Rock singer Nick Cave, whose albums frequently explore the dark territories between the gospel story and tales of human depravity, has now brought his imagination to the big screen in a violent Western tale called The Proposition. Directed by John Hillcoat, this dusty, daunting film features performances by Guy Pearce, Danny Huston, John Hurt, Emily Watson, and Ray Winstone.

Josh Hurst (Reveal) writes, "Though The Proposition does indeed share much in common with Cave's music—it's dark, bloody, and theatrical, with an undercurrent of dialogue with the Divine—the film is also overlong, unbearably harsh, and overbearingly violent, with very little payoff in the end."

Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) praises the "desolate ambience" and the performances. And he concludes that the film is "sometimes absorbing but more often tedious. … The film is not without moral complexity as nearly all the characters are faced with ethical dilemmas and the line between 'good' and 'bad' is very fine. But for all its metaphorical purpose … the intense savagery in this gritty, somber tale will not be to every taste."

Mainstream critics are praising the film as a vital new Western and, in fact, as one of the year's best films.