There are many reasons to love The Proposition. It's written and scored by the irreplaceable Nick Cave. It's perfectly directed by John Hillcoat. It's both thrilling and strenuous on the heart. And above all else -- it's wonderfully cast, from the monologue-delivering John Hurt to the sadistic charm of Danny Huston's Arthur Burns.
While I appreciated Huston's work well before he headed for the dry grime of the Outback in the 1880s, his stint as the violent sociopath jettisoned him to a whole new level. What was so great about his performance is that while he maintained some of the exuberant charm he's known for, Huston used it as a way to balance the truly sadistic aspects of his character. Without a doubt, Arthur Burns is a dangerous man who does terrible things -- and Huston plays it perfectly -- but that little edge of charm gives the character more depth than is usually awarded to the character we're set up to hate.