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Proof of Life
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Proof of Life More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

proof of tobacco endorsement

Author: rob o'cop from japan
26 December 2009

I liked this movie, I liked the characters and the pacing and plot, but what's with the gratuitous use of cigarette placement in this film. it seemed crow-bared into the story for no effect. there was no point to its inclusion. Add to that we never see meg Ryan taking a puff, just awkwardly waving her cigarette around. I first say a stray puff of smoke and wondered what the hell it was then later figured out Meg was smoking (or not). Then we get Crow in on the act and the sister. It just rang hollow and confusing and put a corporate edge on an otherwise interesting story.

Crow's character was cool and for the family breaking wife stealer he managed to pull in the real world with meg his character was certainly worth it.

Meg looked cool too, pre lip implants.

The military stuff was precise and focused and the hostage stuff disturbing. A flawed but good movie. I'm glad I watched it.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Proof of Life

Author: blee3 from United States
5 May 2005

In a mountainous South American country where drugs are the major crop of the economy, kidnapping is more of a lucrative investment opportunity than a punishable felony. The government is in the business of trying to stop the drug trade and allocating resources for more respectable economic ventures. In response to this, anti government Marxist guerrilla groups frequently block off traffic and raid the streets, kidnapping citizens and tourist alike, freeing the poor ones and keeping the ones who can fetch a high ransom price. Soon they realize this can bring in even more money than the drug trade, and change into a professional kidnapping operation. When they kidnap and idealistic American engineer, Peter Bowman (David Moorse), who is in South America attempting to build a dam that he believes will help the locals grow crops, the guerrilla group finds out he is employed by a United States oil company, and believe that the dam is assisting an oil pipeline, robbing South America of this precious national resource. They take him to their camp in the mountains and wait for either his wife, Meg Bowman (Meg Ryan), or the oil company to pay the large ransom set. The oil company sends in a kidnap and rescue specialists, Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe), to negotiate a lower price, however the ransom is still much higher than either his wife has or the oil company is willing to pay.

While it takes place in a fictional South American country, Tecala, we can infer that Proof of Life was based almost entirely on Columbia because for a variety of reasons. The geography of Tecala resembles that of Columbia, with both flat coastal lowlands and a mountainous region, the Andes. The other clue that gives away that Tecala was based on Columbia is the effect of guerrillas. The guerrilla group in the movie is based on La Violencia, which also has a Marxist orientation. In Columbia guerilla groups control almost forty percent of the countryside, just as in Proof of Life. This film does a great job showing the imprint that guerilla groups have left on the local populace. Many Columbian citizens live in fear that every day something bad will happen to them or their families due to the great amount of daily violence in the country.

The film snaps back and forth between three story lines, a harrowing escape effort from the mountain camp by Peter Bowman, the intense negotiations to lower the ransom price by Terry Thorne, and Alice Bowman's emotional roller coaster between her budding feelings for Terry Thorne and feelings of loss and despair for her husband. This triplet of story lines can get quite confusing and annoying at times because its prevents us from getting truly engaged in a storyline. Many of the characters actions and emotions are unbelievable, which leads to a distancing of oneself from the characters. Proof of Life overall however, was an entertaining movie, and a movies goal is simply to entertain. While it could have used more action sequences, it succeeded in getting the blood and adrenaline flowing. I would rate it a 6.5 out of 10.

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16 out of 29 people found the following review useful:


Author: gazzo-2 from United States
10 December 2000

This looked like something made in the 80s, what with the Rambo/Uncommon Valor Finale, the psuedo-James Bondish globe trotting of Crowe in the lead and of course, Meg Ryan. I didn't mind this much, but there are a few things wrong with it...

One-it takes TOO long to get to the Rambo finale, which by the way is handled pretty well. You expect going in, to see Crowe taking at least half the flick to go in and get the poor guy being held hostage in the Andes. Not so. He spends instead an awful lotta time yakking into a two way radio with the baddies or pacing around some office or room or whatever. They needed to tighten THAT up.

Two-Meg Ryan while I like her, didn't seem to bring very much to this. I donno, she reminded me of her character from 'You've Got Mail'-it was almost as if she left Set#1 and went right onto Set#2 without skipping a beat. Not enough 'gravitas' to the casting or role.

Pamela Reed was kinda irritating but at least seemed like she gave a hang about her brother being held. They never Did bother to explain to us how she scraped up the lions share of that $600K by the way(which they never hadda use)either....

Crowe I like, in a Robert Mitchum kinda way this guy's the real deal. He was so good in the Rescue scenes that ya wish they'd turned this more into a 'Predator/Uncommon Valor' type flick and gone with that. I was reminded of 'Predator' in fact in the helicopter over the jungle shots....

For the most part, I consider this to be a mature, intelligent presentation-but there needs to be some more thinking to what exactly kinda film it is they want to make. The opening scenes in Chechenya are so effective, you wind up being disappointed and surprised in fact that it's Not That kinda flick; more negotiating and hostage scenes than anything else.

(I also, for what it's worth, will tip my hat to both the 'Missionary Guy' and David Morse, they were good. Morse usually is, in things like the Rock and whatever. And David Caruso seemed to be enjoying himself too-he was alright. Quite a comedown from NYPD Blue though, eh? He has disappeared pretty much...)

Overall-it's not bad, more a good VCR than anything else....

** outta ****

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A good and very entertaining thriller with Russell Crowe

Author: psagray from Spain
12 January 2010

While building a dam in "Tecala", a country situated in the Andes, the chief America engineer "Peter Bowman" (David Morse), is captured by anti-government forces during a raid in the capital. When the rebels discover their identity require $3 million to return safe and sound. However, the company of "Peter", based in Houston, is on the brink of bankruptcy and has canceled the insurance policy against kidnappings, so it cannot provide the money for their rescue. Abandoned by the company, "Alice" (Meg Ryan), the wife of "Peter", must cope with the situation by your account. She hires the services of the negotiator of hostages professional "Terry Thorne" (Russell Crowe), a veteran of SAS, which in recent years has dealt with numerous kidnappings.

"Proof of Life" is a film little considered due to high expectations for its attractiveness argument and that is the first film of Russell Crowe after the great success throughout the world with "Gladiator." But its director Taylor Hackford has not sought a film committed and complaint, only has sought to expose through a current problem, a simple thriller and fairly, conventional with good scenes of action. Its objective is achieved by far, but it is not at all what has been expected of this film.

In terms of its scenes of action, they are very successful and generous, with some contribution of tension well managed. The film is conventional within this genre of films. It has not nothing to do not have seen before, but it knows expose very well the action, although the fabric loving can be considered very secondary fulfills its mission,

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

OK - passes a couple of hours satisfactorily

Author: Neil Welch from United Kingdom
6 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Proof Of Life is a satisfactory drama.

It starts out as a suspense thriller and ends up as an action thriller, taking a little too long to get there. Along the way it winds in a not altogether convincing almost-romance subplot.

Russell Crowe is excellent, as is David Morse (as always). Meg Ryan comes across as cold, however: even when there are tears and emotional moments, she never made me believe that she was actually feeling anything. A shame, because a warmer performance would have added immeasurably to the movie.

Most of the supporting players are fine.

There is an awful lot of un-subtitled Spanish. I suppose that this is to drive home the utter isolation experienced by David Morse's character, but there were times when I would have welcomed knowing what was being said: it wasn't me who was kidnapped, after all.

A decent enough movie, but without anything to single it out as being special.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Better characters than the usual actioner

Author: pwmeek from Ypsilanti, MI
6 August 2001

Nice to see a director make the effort to develop the characters. Usually they are just place-holders to carry the action. Not to say that the action/suspense is lacking; it holds up just fine. Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe are right on the button as wife of kidnapee and the international ransom expert.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

Author: teriog_4 from United Kingdom
14 June 2010

This is a terrific movie, and I'm not the only one who thinks so and as such is well under-rated. It manages to combine a great storyline full of action and suspense with a love interest as well. The romantic aspect is of course really subtle, and all the more compelling because of this, and doesn't get in the way of the action.

Crowe is just brilliant, and totally believable, as the kidnapping and ransom specialist Terry Thorne who is called in to rescue Peter Bowman, the husband of Alice played by Meg Ryan.

Meg Ryan I think plays her part quite well, but it's hard to see what Russell Crowe's character saw in her romantically.

The location and all the supporting character performances also have a real air of authenticity about them.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Simply Entertaining...!

Author: buiger from Monaco
29 January 2010

I found this to be a very decent, well made motion picture that did what it was supposed to do: entertain! Now I do agree with the critics that it has some shortfalls, it is certainly not perfect, but sufficiently good to offer more than two hours of suspense, action and basically film-going enjoyment. I disagree with most that the movie is too long, I find the duration to be fine, I did not catch myself being bored for an instant for the duration of the film.

As far as the acting is concerned, I think David Morse put in an excellent performance here as the kidnapped husband. Very good acting indeed. As far as the two starring actors are concerned, I do not find as some say, that Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe were miscast in this picture. On the contrary I think they work well in this type of picture, especially Russel Crowe who does a very good job playing an ex SAS officer. Special forces soldiers do not look or act like Schwarzenegger, they are more or less exactly as Crowe portrayed them. Yes, I agree that Meg Ryan could have been more emotionally involving, more dramatic, but she brings so many other things to the screen that others don't (naivete, believability, charm, etc.). You can't have everything (well you can, but not always...). In other, I found the movie has been well directed, the cinematography and sound are also good. On the flip side, the screenplay could have been a little more 'sophisticated' (Ebert put it very nicely: "Perhaps the screenplay should have been kept simmering until it was reduced a little, and its flavors made stronger").

All in all, not an artistic masterpiece but a good, entertaining motion picture to watch with a beer and a nice packet of popcorn. Isn't this what movies are supposed to be about anyway?

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Acting does not live here... or directing...

Author: Schaphra from Zagreb, Croatia
11 November 2001

Horrible. Like porno without sex. I don't want to revoke a thing between Ryan and Crowe, but - where is that chemistry that supposed to happened?? They acting like they're in very bad Eurepean movie, without tense, emotions, action, depth or humor.


One of the worst movies of the year.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Seriously good stuff

Author: dougalhansen from London
13 March 2001

Different people have different tastes but I'm genuinely surprised that Proof of Life has had such mixed reviews. I consider myself a fairly critical movie-goer yet I was thoroughly engaged by this well-made, well-acted and well-plotted piece of work.

The film is an intelligent balance between realistic action sequences (a welcome change from the kind of nonsense witnessed in MI2 or Charlie's Angels) and believable drama (which broadly avoided the crass melodrama usually favoured by Hollywood).

One has a clear sense that here we have a pretty successful attempt to 'tell it like it is' without compromising the need for dramatic tension. The reviewer who said that PoL steers clear of both Hollywoodisation and Political Correctness is spot on - many mainstream films are loaded with both. Here's a film where you can say to yourself "Hey, this is probably pretty close to what it's really like." There are no cartoon villains (with inevitable cut-glass English accents). Nor is the rescue mission led by a gay quadraplegic.

Crowe is suberb. He radiates the kind of quiet authority required by his role. Meg Ryan is good too. She doesn't give off the "I'm such a saintly martyr" vibe that Hollywood often demands of its female leads.

I'd welcome a more sophisticated and challenging critique of PoL from those who really didn't like it (rather than "it was boring") because - for me - it is miles ahead of 90% of what hits our cinemas. A proper night out at the movies.

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