“If you don’t go kill your (nasty rapist, murdering though cooly philosophical) elder brother I will kill your (dimwitted, good hearted, if also potentially a rapist and murdering) younger brother”. The Proposition is not a film which deals in Manichean morality. Let’s be fair, if the film contains moral shades of grey, they are very dark indeed. The that two characters in the film who could be said to me the most moral themselves are pretty purgitous. Guy Pearce’s middle brother, happy to shoot and murder who only seems to come to a revelation at how bad this might be late in life. And Emily Watson’s stab at a pure lady in this dark land is still sullied by her begging for a young chap to be flogged to death. So violence and nastiness sis the order of the day.

In such a cost dark film there has to be some light, and as is usually the case in outback set films, the scenery does most of the talking. It may be a cliche that all outback set films seem to have a dreamlike/dreaming quality but The Proposition does not seem to able to sidestep it. Shockingly pretty, shockingly violent, perhaps a bit boring in places, with music and a script by Nick Cave which compliment each other with their sparsity. (For the first half of the film Cave seems to have earned his fee for writing about 100 words). Put it like this: imagine a film written by Nick Cave. You’ve just imagined the bloody, murderous, cynical The Proposition.