directed by John Hillcoat
Australia 2005

 

Facing a dilemma of justice, Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) gives the outlaw Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) a proposition: Locate and kill his psychotic older brother Arthur (Danny Huston) in order to save his younger brother from hanging on Christmas day.

While The Proposition is Australian in any way possible, it is one of the most valuable contributions to the western genre since Eastwood’s Unforgiven. It is in one way unique, given both the Australian context, yet universal in the way it addresses the conflict of letters of the law versus justice and in doing the right thing. As such, it portraits the human psyche facing justice and revenge, showing us both sides of the coin and the consequences.

Enriching these motives, the outback and primitive rural settings helps isolating the psyche by pure contrast. Man is alone with himself and his choices.

Within the context of the story, the question of morality is centre. What makes an officer of the law propose such a proposition? Is it moral to do so? Will the actions in its wake be moral? Is justice moral? Does the goal justify the means by which it is achieved? Is morality part of justice at all?

Adding to this, everything is camouflaged by despair. Not just the proposition by Stanley, as he has no guarantee of Charlie and his actions, but also in the mise-en-scene of his home, where his wife (Emily Watson) does what she can to maintain the Victorian lifestyle, by serving English breakfast and tea using china, and by importing a Christmas tree. Again, thru this, the film asks, if despair causes man to create illusions, and in length of this, is law and order an illusion?

Elevating the story, actors Guy Pearce, Danny Huston and Ray Winstone gives perhaps their best performances to date. They become not only their characters, they become signifiers of the films motifs.

The Proposition is an incredible strong and brutal contribution to the western genre and of the best films of the year. Not to be missed.

Henrik Sylow

 

Poster

 

Theatrical Release: May 11, 2005 (Cannes Film Market)

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DVD Comparison:

First Look Pictures (Maple - Canadian edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

(First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

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Distribution

First Look Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

First Look Pictures - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:43:48 1:44:00
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Video codec: VC-1, single-layered

Feature: 18Gig
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Audio English DTS 5.1 / English 5.1 Dolby Digital / English 2.01 Dolby Digital

English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD 

Subtitles English, Spanish, none English SDH, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: First Look Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Nick Cave and John Hillcoat
• Making of The Proposition (27:11)

• Deleted Scenes

DVD Release Date:
September 19th, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 34

Release Information:
Studio: First Look Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 2.35:1

1080P Dual-layered, VC-1 encode

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Nick Cave and John Hillcoat
• Making of The Proposition (27:11)

• Deleted Scenes

• Inside The Proposition (divided into 9 sections - over an hour long)
 

DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 34

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

My SD edition, released September 2006, is interlaced and because of this - the improvements of the Blu-ray seems even more exaggerated. Henrik reviewed a 2-disc Tartan UK PAL edition that came out in July of 2006 HERE. It looks slightly ahead of it's SD NTSC counterpart in most areas, although seemed to show a greenish cast, but the Blu-ray eclipses both editions quite dramatically. Detail and colors (somewhat homogenized in the SDs) seem the obvious improvements and the new Blu-ray grabs looks quite wonderful aside the older standard definition captures. The resized images don't tell the whole story but you may click the Blu-ray to full-resolution to get a better indication of how improved the detail actually escalates to. The Proposition has some brilliant color infused outdoor cinematography as well as many dark, low lit, scenes but both seem well-supported by the 1080P transfer without undue noise - which does exist but is fairly fine and faint - notably visible in some of the more expansive background visuals. Overall the new Blu-ray looks exceptionally impressive at times.

NOTE: Because of the combing of the SD, it was that much harder to obtain exact frame matches but we believe we have done so (aside from the inclusion of one frame from the UK edition - noted by the position of the fly on the plate).

Audio-wise the new edition has (only) a resounding TrueHD track but I, honestly couldn't differentiate from the SD 5.1 and both sounded quite separated and explosive at times. I suppose technology tells us the TrueHD should be an improvement. Both editions include optional English or Spanish subtitles.

In terms of supplements the Blu-ray has more than the Region 1 SD - both have the same decent commentary found on the SD US and UK releases; described by Henrik as 'Additional material begins with an audio commentary by writer Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat. It is a very good, yet modest and quiet commentary, noting upon mise-en-scene, thematically elements, scenery, acting and so on.'. Both also have the 27 minute 'Making of...' featurette with input from many including director Hillcoat and the cast and a few deleted scenes. Unlike the US SD, the Blu-ray includes some of the featurettes (9-part Inside The Proposition) from the 2-disc UK edition with about 20 minutes more worth of interviews etc.

The Blu-ray was my second viewing of The Proposition and I enjoyed it more noting the juxtaposition of the prominent visuals between the narrative's inherent brutality and other individual's attempted civilization. It should be noted that this is a strong film which is very violent in spots - for those you may be sensitive. It has a 'dangerous' aura throughout with that tone set in place immediately at the start of the first scene.

It's always interesting to see new companies venture into the realm of high-definition transfers and First Look gets a thumbs-up for this effort especially considering the price The Proposition is offered at (less than $15 Pre-order!). An intense western that has never looked better for home theater viewing and this Blu-ray seems very worthy of endorsement. It's a fabulous deal that towers over its SD counterpart(s).

 -Gary Tooze

 



DVD Menus / Extras
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Screen Captures

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CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 


(First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM).

 

 


(Tartan (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


1) First Look Pictures (combing sample) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) First Look Pictures (next frame) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


(First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(First Look Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. First Look Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

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Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu: Blu-ray

 
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Distribution

First Look Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

First Look Pictures - Region 'A' Blu-ray


 





 

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