Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best Movies of the Decade #28

28)The Proposition

"Australia. What fresh hell is this? "

Ray Winstone's character, Captain Stanley, utters that phrase early on in the movie, and it pretty much encompasses what this movie is about. Stanley has captured Charlie & Mike Burns, two of Australia's most infamous outlaws 9 days before Christmas. Stanley offers the older Charlie a choice: Hunt down and kill his older brother, Arthur, and they'll be pardoned. Don't and they will hang on Christmas day. So Charlie heads out into the wilderness to track down, and kill, his brother.

This movie is unpleasant. The characters are all unlikeable, yet compelling. Charlie Burns is a murder, true, but damned if he doesn't love his brother. Stanley is using the law for his on purposes, trying to bring a sense of civility to a raw land. and Arthur Burns? Scary is an understatement.

But it works, as a story, it works. As a western, it excels. This is the closest thing to a Sam Peckinpah western to be released in a decade or so. It's violent, raw, and fucking amazing. You'll never look at Christmas dinner quite the same after watching the end of this film.

" I will civilize this land. "

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