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The Proposition

Set in Australia in the 1880's, this film is more like a Western. The basic premise is simple. Two brothers are arrested for the rape and murder of a pregnant woman. The elder of the two is given a proposition, although it could be argued that this is more of an ultimatum by the "Captain" - find his elder brother and kill him - or else his younger brother will hang. He is given just nine days to do the task. The deadline is Christmas Day.

There are three things that strike you about this film. The film score is just great, written by Nick Cave (who also wrote the story) and is just right. Secondly - flies. The outback is hot. Very hot indeed. Flies are everywhere - thousands of 'em. Apparently, when the film was made, the flies that seem to exist up every orifice possible were genuine and the cast needed a variety of jabs to stop them from falling ill. Thirdly, it's the brutality involved. The inherent racism and brutality demonstrated against the aborigines is criminal and you come away realising that those people who call themselves "civilised" (i.e. The British) were actually no better whatsoever.

John Hurt also does a marvellous mad bounty-hunter stint and the scene where he discusses Darwin's Origin of the Species is deeply insightful into attitudes of the time.

So, in all - watch it. It's not a high budget affair, but it has a good story, a good score and a good cast. It's brutal in ways that cannot be explained - it would give too much away, but that somehow adds to the reasons why you should see it.
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