A million dollars might be pocket change to some, but to most of us it can change lives. Despite all the fables, fairy tales and clever quotations we hear about money not buying happiness, money not being everything and so forth, there’s still something to it. Otherwise we wouldn’t be working towards earning it with our jobs, dropping a 20 on the weekly lotto draw or squirreling away trinkets in the basement to sell on eBay in a few decades. So money is something. To a degree, and a pretty big one at that, it is important. But where do you draw the line between what’s easy money and what’s worth passing up.
Like Fatal Attraction, director Adrian Lyne checks in with another provocative morality tale with Indecent Proposal, a film that is at times laughable yet at the same time, over 15 years after its release, its premise is still up for debate and discussion.
From the earliest ages we’re challenged to things with money being the driving reward. Eat a worm for a dollar, take ten bucks for leaving a flame bag of dog dung on your neighbor’s doorstep, earn a cool hundred for throwing an egg at a passing member of the royal family. Dares for money are a part of life. In Indecent Proposal, David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana (Demi Moore) Murphy are an up and coming couple. Both successful professionals, they’re on the right track to achieving a nice upper-middle class lifestyle. Before child number one comes along, their dream home is already in the process of being built. But then money gets tight and the bills add up. In a final act of desperation the couple head to Vegas to earn the money they need to pay their debts and keep their house.
Just as luck seems to have run out for the double Ds, a knight in a shining Rolex comes to the rescue with an intriguing offer. Billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford) offers the couple a cool million for a single night with Diana. We’re not just talking dinner and dancing either. Gage wants dinner, dancing and a little more dancing. Essentially, he wants Diana to be a prostitute for a single night. In deep, the couple shrug it off as just sex and ultimately go for it. It turns out that money isn’t everything after all and the trouble only really begins when they get it.
As outlandish as the premise seems, Indecent Proposal takes the stakes to the extreme. But is it really that extreme? Since the film’s release in 1993, I’ve watched in train-wreck horror as couples sacrifice love and relationships for cash on reality shows like Moment of Truth and Temptation Island. Is this really that much different. It’s a little more personal, but for those long-term relationships and marriages that dissolved on TV, it’s all personal as we watch them in similarly ridiculous situations.
Like Lyne’s Fatal Attraction, you feel both empathy and disgust for all the main characters. David and Diana are working their way to success. But there’s that whole selling out thing. Anyone who offers a million bucks to sleep with a married woman is a slime ball. Yet, in a lot of ways, John Gage shows Diana more respect than David does. So there’s no clear-cut good guys and bad guys. Instead it’s a more rounded look at a moral dilemma.
Indecent Proposal has gone on to become a part of pop culture. While it’s not great, it’s definitely an interesting character study. The fact that it’s still talked about today shows that it’s definitely got staying power. Much of the success in that stems from the fact that Lyne is able to take a taboo topic and bring it down to earth with just enough heat, sleaze, humor and drama.
Indecent Proposal Blu-ray Review
Indecent Proposal arrives on Blu-ray with a sharp and bright 1080p high definition widescreen picture. Audio is in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD with dubbed tracks in both French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. English, Spanish, French and Portuguese are included in the subtitle options. The only bonus feature is a feature commentary from director Adrian Lyne.
Indecent Proposal Gallery