Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars and opens his review with this:
"The Proposition" plays like a Western moved from Colorado to Hell. The characters are familiar: The desperado brothers, the zealous lawman, his civilized wife, the corrupt mayor, the old coots, the resentful natives. But the setting is the Outback of Australia as I have never seen it before. These spaces don't seem wide open because an oppressive sky glares down at the sullen earth; this world is sun-baked, hostile, unforgiving, and it breeds heartless men.The Guardian calls it "an exquisitely contradictory work: beautiful but brutal, hot-blooded but ruminative". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus of 86%.