Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Proposition

(Australia, 2005)

If a cowboy movie made in Spain by Italians is a Spaghetti Western, what’s the proper term for a western made in Australia? How about a Didjeridu Oater? The outback isn’t standing in for Texas in this one, but there are no kangaroos or emus in it, and the director clearly is going for some sort of mythic frontier thing here, so it might as well be Buffalo Turd, Nebraska, as Woolygoongalong Station, South Australia. The device of using the standard furniture of the western as backdrop for Shakespearean morality plays has been around a long time now, and if you’re careful not to get too solemn, it can still work. But all that is achieved here is pretentiousness, from the silly musical theme to the poetry-quoting psychopaths. See True Grit, or The Culpepper Cattle Company, or The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid instead of this dead wallaby. Or, for that matter, see The Road Warrior.