I saw The Proposition tonight. It was a lot gorier than films I’d normally see but overall I liked it. I don’t know if it was the cinematography or the impact of the countryside itself but I was almost surprised to remember that I’d see Islington, not the outback, when I left the cinema.
The English garden and fine china were almost over-played but I think it’s impossible to really express how alien the country must have seemed to people who’ve grown up with it. I used to be irritated by the way European settlers named towns and features after places back in Europe, but now I see it as an act of hope and desperation, as if they hoped they could tame and make green a wild brown country by naming it for a settled verdant one.
The flies almost deserved a credit line. I think it’s the first film I’ve seen that captured the small but unignorable, inexorable presence of flies in such visceral detail.
David Wenham reminded me of Richard Roxburgh as the Duke of Worcester in Moulin Rouge!, which was a bit unfortunate.
The script was less about the proposition itself than the past and future choices faced by Charlie, the outlaw, and Stanley, the British trooper. It was a lot more subtle than the plot outline suggests but it was written by Nick Cave, so that shouldn’t be a surprise. Each character has moral choices, and the results can be hard to bear. My description doesn’t really do it justice, so go see it for yourself.