The Proposition | Chicago Reader

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A British captain in the Australian outback (Ray Winstone), ordered to round up a trio of marauding brothers, captures two of them in a shoot-out and cuts a deal with the taciturn middle one (Guy Pearce): he must kill his ruthless older brother (Danny Huston) or his sniveling baby brother will hang. This savage 2005 western was written by doom rocker Nick Cave, and though a musician making a movie usually spells disaster, the story is perfect, the characters so pure of purpose they seem to have stepped out of an old murder ballad. Directed by John Hillcoat, this Aussie feature re-creates the charbroiled landscapes and cruel psychodrama of the old Sergio Leone westerns, with John Hurt particularly fine as a raging old mountain goat. 104 min.

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