Jennifer Esposito in The Proposal.
In the movie she actually carries a revolver,
not an automatic.
I picked The Proposal (2001) up a couple of weeks ago. I had
never heard of it and I didn't know any of the stars. I was thus
prepared to be disappointed. As it turned out, it is one of the best
crime/detective movies I've seen in a good while. So if you've already
seen The Departed and are asking yourself "what next?" amongst all
the lackluster fare these days, this is a movie you might be interested in.
The movie stars Jennifer Esposito and Nick Moran. I had never heard of
either of them, in spite of the fact that they both have a pretty good
number of movies or television shows on their resume. Esposito reminded
me of Jennifer Aniston's tougher older sister. I wasn't really drawn to
her in the opening minutes of the movie, but she kind of grew on me. And
I guarantee that she gives a whole new nuance to the line "You dropped
your peaches." As for Moran, he was excellent in this. There's something
about the shape of his face and especially his voice that remind me of
the young John Savage.
Here's the set-up. Detective Terry Martin has been undercover for six
months, posing as a fence and trying to get some concrete evidence
against a minor crime boss named Simon. Since he is patted down for a
wire virtually every time he comes into Simon's presence, he carries a
fake .9mm automatic in his holster which actually contains a micro-
cassette recorder. He has dozens of tapes on Simon collected, but has
yet to get that really big admission on tape that will nail the guy for
something big. He has also been using the excuse of a demanding wife to
distance himself from the operation when he needs to. Which works out
fine until he is invited to attend Simon's birthday party and is told to
bring his wife.
He needs to come up with someone to pose as his wife, and he needs to do
it quick. Working with his supervisor they call in a cop from the records
department named Susan Reese. Susan agrees to the job, but after spending
a couple of years doing Excel spreadsheets she's aching to do some real
investigative work and demands to be filled in on the details. Terry is
experienced, and cautious to the extent of paranoia. Susan has no experience
and, as it turns out, becomes kind of a loose cannon in it all.
Nevertheless Susan's presence eventually gives Terry the opportunity to
get in closer to Simon than he has ever been before. Invited to a
weekend shin-dig at Simon's country home, the two have the opportunity
to finally get the goods on Simon — either that, or get themselves
The character of Simon in this is a real dick. This is one bad guy you
want to see brought down — no shades-of-grey noir-ish moral ground
here, you just want to see his ass nailed to the wall.
The plot of the movie is interesting and has enough good twists and
turns to keep most people happy. The plot progresses smoothly and
clearly in spite of the twists — this isn't one of those movies you
have to see five times to figure out what the hell happened. The
Proposal is also filled with those little details that give it quite
a bit of Realism.
One minor point. After having watched the movie twice I still don't
quite understand where the title came from. There isn't anything in the
plot/script that I could locate that really suggests anything like "a
proposal" being made. The French version was titled Dangereuse
Proposition, which makes a lot more sense.
I'm not going to sit here and claim that this is a classic movie like
The Big Sleep or Chinatown. But it is one of the better cop movies
I've seen lately. There being a lot of positives about the movie and
really nothing in the way of negatives, I have to give this a 4 GU rating.
P.M.P.I. Rating (Out of 5)