Written by goth-punk rocker Nick Cave in the spirit of Sam Peckinpah, The Proposition is a revisionist western of the nihilist variety. Set in the Australian outback of the 1880s, the film draws its title from a burned-out lawman's pathetic offer to an outlaw (Guy Pearce): Kill your older brother and I'll spare your younger one. Distinguishing these two killers in terms of each one's right to live isn't something that The Proposition worries much about. Like his characters, director John Hillcoat shoots first and asks questions later, if at all. In a haunting performance as Captain Stanley, Ray Winstone uses his fleshy face in ironic counterpoint to Pearce's gaunt one: The captain is well-fed but hollowed out -- his mouth slightly agape, his eyes always a little moist. What actor wouldn't have killed to be in this movie? John Hurt turns up as a soused bounty hunter who seems to prepare Pearce's character for the showdown with his wayward kin by drunkenly invoking Darwin.
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Nick Cave
Producer: Chris Brown, Chiara Menage, Jackie O'Sullivan and Cat Villiers
Cast: Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, Ray Winstone, David Wenham, John Hurt, Danny Huston, Tom Budge, Richard Wilson, Iain Gardiner and Boris Brkic