Sunday, February 12, 2012
"Yes, said the rider that laid down his gun"
My Reel of the week is 2005's "The Proposition". It's a Western in the purest sense of the word. Taking place in Australia, where the vast and unforgiving landscape plays as much a role as the actors who speak the lines. It is a heartbreaking story of human suffering, cruelty, and history that makes a happy ending impossible. It's a story that at it's epicenter, mirrors America's history. The story of one culture trying to conquer another through violence and oppression. Within that story is another, about love and choices. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is an outlaw, no doubt about it, but in the Australian outback of the 1780's the line between good and bad is unrecognizable. Charlie is captured in a fierce and bloody gunfight and given an agonizing choice. Kill his brother Dan (Dan Huston), the leader of the Burns gang or his fourteen year old brother Mike (Richard Wilson) will be hanged on Christmas day.
This was a brutal time in Australia's British & Aboriginal history so be warned this film does not shirk from it's responsibility to that history, but ultimately this is a dialogue driven film, and the dialogue brilliantly tells a sad, mesmerizing and disturbing story. My heart was left heavy, but this film spurred conversation and curiosity in this viewer also a hunger to gain more knowledge. I wish you the same.