The Proposition

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Arthur, Charlie, and Cpt. Stanley all threaten the camera

Cpt. Stanley: Now, suppose you tell me what it is I want from you?
Charlie Burns: You want me to kill me brother.
Cpt. Stanley: I want you to kill your brother.

A 2005 Western, set in 1880s Australia. Directed by John Hillcoat, with a screenplay by rock star Nick Cave. Cave and his bandmate Warren Ellis also wrote the soundtrack. It's really good. Cave described it as a story full of beautiful sadness and longing, intercut with moments of intense violence.

Here's a rundown of the plot: Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) and his younger, mentally retarded brother Mikey are Irish criminals in Australia. After a shootout in a brothel, they are both arrested and imprisoned. During the interrogation, Cpt. Stanley (Ray Winstone) gives Charlie the titular proposition: track down and kill the oldest Burns brother, Arthur (Danny Huston, son of John Huston and half-brother of Angelica), and both Charlie and Mikey will be released. Charlie is forced to choose which brother will die - the mentally retarded and innocent child, or the protective big brother and father figure. Until then, poor Mikey will remain in the Banyon Jail, and if the job is not done by Christmas Day, Mikey will be hanged and the manhunt for Charlie and Arthur will resume.

Also stars Emily Watson as the sensitive Martha Stanley, David Wenham as the pillar of the community Eden Fletcher, and John Hurt as the insane old bounty hunter Jellon Lamb.

Cave, Ellis, and Hillcoat also collaborate on the 2009 film The Road.

Tropes used in The Proposition include: