The Proposition

John Hillcoat
Australia / UK, 2005, 104 minutes

Castro Theatre 2/02, 7p Buy

Legendary alternative musician/author Nick Cave and acclaimed director John Hillcoat have collaborated numerous times through the years, and The Proposition (direct from its US premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival) directs their attention to epic moral struggles in the Old West – Down Under. Cave contributed to the scores of Hillcoat's bleak prison drama Ghosts...of the Civil Dead and his jungle set thriller To Have and to Hold, while Hillcoat directed a number of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds videos. The Proposition gives Cave his first screenwriter credit on a film Hillcoat directs, and it's a masterful achievement for both. Cave also supplies the haunting score.

The Proposition is a sort of Australian western, a film set in the outback during the late 1800's British settlement days. Pearce stars as Charlie Burns, one of three brothers that make up the infamous Burns gang. In the film's opening scene Charlie and younger brother Mikey are captured after a vicious shoot-out with regional law man Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone), who lays out the titular proposition. Stanley will execute Mikey in nine days unless Charlie can hunt down and kill his older brother Arthur. Charlie must choose: the life of his younger brother, or the life of his older brother.

"It is hard to overemphasize the dramatic tension of this film or the excellence of its cast. Ray Winstone is at his thundering best, vulnerable and headstrong.... Danny Huston's mad poet and Emily Watson's delicate ersatz princess are also extraordinarily well realized. John Hurt... is also wonderful, but it is Guy Pearce's deceptively wistful ambivalence that fuels the film's mind-blowing tonal shifts and that forms its veiled moral core."
– Toronto International Film Festival

Opening Night
Following the screening of the Opening Night Film at the Castro, you are invited to join the IndieFest staff and this year's filmmakers at Balazo on February 2. The party starts at 9p and will feature great DJs, short films in the screening room, drunken Jeopardy, performances by Shadow Circus Creature Theater and complimentary food and drink. Our Opening Night Party is always one of the best parties of the year!
The party is 21 up.

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8th Annual SF Indiefest