JOBLO'S MOVIE REVIEWS

SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Proof Of Life (2000)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: December 04, 2000
Director: Taylor Hackford
Writer: Tony Gilroy
Producers: Taylor Hackford and Charles Mulvehill
Actors:
Russell Crowe as Terry Thorne
Meg Ryan as Alice Bowman
David Morse as Peter Bowman
Plot:
A man working and living is South America with his wife is kidnapped by local rebels and held for ransom. A professional K&R (kidnap & random) negotiator comes into play to help the grieving wife get her husband back alive.
Critique:
A solid thriller that relies more on the psychological decomposition of a tense hostage situation, rather than the full blown action sequences that we've become accustomed to in similar flicks. Is that another way of saying that the movie is slow? Well, it definitely does feel a little redundant at times and it doesn't move at a mile a minute, if that's what you're expecting. But for me, the subject matter was fascinating enough, a topic that is rarely discussed in movies in such great detail, and the performances put forth by Crowe and Morse, rock solid. Please don't go into this movie expecting to see the Gladiator hanging off the side of a helicopter, machine-gunning everybody in sight while screaming "Adrian!!!". That's not what this film is about. In fact, other than its first 10 minutes and its denouement, the film is practically action-less. It's more of a "Jack Ryan" type of film. Russell Crowe is perfectly cast as the cold, stoic negotiator, more interested in the "game" than anything in his own personal life or anybody else's for that matter. It's a business, not emotional, and Crowe fits that bill perfectly. David Morse is also well cast as the poor bastard who gets kidnapped at the beginning of the movie. His disintegration during his capture is palpable, as we really do get a feeling of how awful something like that could be. Ryan is okay as the grieving wife, but she honestly didn't show me anything new here (she can cry with the best of them!).

The film also played out very nicely with alternating scenes between Morse's time with the kidnappers and Crowe and Ryan trying to save his ass, winding their way through the entire movie. I also dug the fact that they kept writing the number of days of his capture on the screen. God knows that it's the "little things" that sometimes help audiences stick with the story. And how about David Caruso getting in there with a possible career-resurrecting role! Yup, you heard it here first. Caruso has a very small part here, doesn't play a cop for once and manages to come through on the dynamic front. Overall, I think this movie will probably play better on video. It's not necessarily a film that screams to be seen in the theatres, but definitely a solid movie to check out when you've got the time. The topic is an interesting one and handled very well. There is a slight romance factor which adds a little bit of extra runtime to the film, which didn't work for me, but for the most part, the film succeeds as a tense drama with a few thrilling moments. The last 30 minutes pack its most punch, thrill-wise. And heck, if all that doesn't mean diddly to you, how 'bout the fact that ol' Russell gets to use his own accent in this film (count the number of times that he says "mate" and you'll be amazed) and show us his massive biceps in a tanktop scene. You go, man!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or