Monkey Reviews

Through the Eyes of A Chimp

Monkey Reviews
January 19, 2007


The Proposition: Monkey or Die

A couple of years ago, after Paul had just finished reading “The Kelly Gang”, we figured the movie would be a good compliment to the story. We were disappointed. Considering the colourful history and background to the Kelly Gang it was hard to believe it could be such a sleeper; and not the good kind of “sleeper”. Literally, it was a sleeper. Last night we watched “The Proposition”, an Australian movie set in the same time period as The Kelly Gang but as some critics have said “The Proposition” is what “The Kelly Gang” should have been.

I have to warn you, there is no shortage of brutality and violence but never do you feel it’s about glorification. The strength of the movie is first and foremost it’s story and the title gives you a clue. A deal is made early on, a deal that is not tempting in the least but in the end is impossible to deny given the hard wiring of family bonds and the love of a brother. By no means is that the only strength – there’s also the filming and it’s complete honesty to the time it is portraying. You never get the sense you are watching modern day actors in costume. The characters and location are real, wizened, grimy, toothless, dusty, bloody and worn down by the life that was so common at that time in the Outback. The acting is just as authentic. Because of the authenticity the movie leaves you with an acute awareness of all the different social levels that result from colonialism and the tensions that arise because of this. The filmmaker does a masterful job of telling a simple story but layering it with incredible cinematography, and a subtle hue of the Dreamworld that is a natural part of Australia.

Rating: After all the blood and gore, you are left with a well-crafted story, well acted by Guy Pearce (it’s a far cry from L.A. Confidential), Ray Winestone, John Hurd, Emily Watson and some amazing unknowns.