Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Independent Film Festival of Boston 2006, Day 6: The Proposition

And we close the book on another IFFB. I started the night out with short package 1 at the Coolidge, having more than a few good laughs. It contained a couple repeats from ones playing with other films at the fest. Then it was onto the T and up to Davis Square, where the line for The Proposition (and the other closing night shows) literally reached around the block, if you allow that the building housing the Somerville Theater, Someday Café and assorted other businesses is about the size of a city block. When they finally let pass-holders in for the movie, I got a much better seat than my place in line probably merited because I had come to rest near the entrance to the theater and I was much closer than the people technically ahead of me but on the other side of the building.

Pretty darn great movie, though. My only irritation was that I was supposed to get back home and let Matt in before 11 or so and it started almost 45 minutes later than scheduled, and was followed by one of those Q&A sessions that fall into control of people who love to hear themselves talk. I probably harp on this a lot, but I feel very strongly about this: None of the other four hundred people in the theater came to hear you run on about the actor's past works, or basically answer your own question. Getting Danny Huston to say "I think you've summed it up nicely" is not a personal victory for you.

Ah, well. That's enough festival-ing until Fantasia, when I will thankfully be trying to balance three-plus movies a day with vacation, rather than work.

The Proposition

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 24 April 2006 at Somerville Theater #1 (Independent Film Festival of Boston 2006)

Just when you think the Western has been completely de-romanticized, someone goes and makes a movie that shows you that there was still, in fact, a little rose coloring left in those glasses. For The Proposition, director John Hilcoat and writer Nick Cave manage this by packing the whole works up and shipping it to a hot, insect-ridden corner of the Australian Outback. There they drop a nasty moral dilemma on us, with the only way to the other side through a violent path of blood. It's fantastic.

The proposition of the title is a simple one - two of the three notorious Burns brothers have been captured. Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone), in charge of the local garrison, makes Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) a terrible offer: He will hang youngest brother Mike (Richard Wilson) in seven days unless Charlie brings back the corpse of their oldest brother, Arthur (Danny Huston). It's a terrible deal, but Charlie takes it - Mikey is a little slow and decent-hearted, and Arthur is a sociopath; if Stanley keeps his word, Charlie and Mike will go free. But a lot can happen in a week: The Burns gang is all being held responsible for the brutal slaughter of a local family, and don't take kindly to the idea of any of them getting off scott-free - even Stanley's wife Martha (Emily Watson) disagrees with this tactic. The natives are stirred up and ready to kill any white man. And as much as Charlie has come to hate his older brother and took Mike away from his influence, he's going to try to find a way to save both.

Read the rest at HBS.

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