Million dollar pay packets, red carpet luxury, loose-knickered fans, actors have got it easy right? Wrong. Just ask Guy “LA Confidential” Pearce who waived his usual seven-figure fee to star in this brutal Australian Western from slightly bonkers writer/musician Nick Cave.
Pearce spent 3 months in the depths of the Aussie outback - the closest place to hell on earth - battling dust storms, biblical swarms of flies and 57C heat.
There with him was Ray Winstone who plays local law enforcer Captain Stanley, the man charged with catching murderous outlaw Arthur Burns (Huston). Unable to track him down Stanley instead arrests Arthur’s brother Charlie (Pearce) and makes him an impossible proposition: Find and kill Arthur or his other brother, 14-year-old Mikey, will be executed.
Torture, racism, rape and some of the ugliest extras on the planet, "The Proposition" is a thrilling blend of traditional Western motifs and Tarantino-style carnage.
There’s the usual “and that’s why it’s great to work with…” guff in the uninspired cast and crew interviews, although the separate “exclusive” chat with Pearce provides some interesting tales about how he adopted the mindset of a murderous outlaw while preparing for the role.
There’s also an overlong documentary illustrating exactly what a challenge it was for the actors to work in such a hostile environment, and a typically meditative commentary from Cave and Hillcoat.
All of the big name cast are on top form (watch out for Hurt’s entertaining turn as an alcoholic bounty hunter) with “The Daddy” Winstone particularly impressive in an unusually restrained central performance. It all looks great too, even if the arty sequences of simmering Outback scenery begin to drag at times.
This hard-boiled Australian twist on the tired Western genre is a cinematic offer you can’t refuse.
Staring: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Emily Watson, Danny Huston, David Wenham
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Extras: Tartan Exclusive Interview With Guy Pearce, Tartan Exclusive Interview With Danny Huston, Interviews With Cast And Crew, Making Of Featurettes, Original Theatrical Trailer, Tartan Trailer Reel, Film Notes