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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.39%
Worth A Look41.56%
Just Average: 33.77%
Pretty Crappy: 11.69%
Sucks: 2.6%

6 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Proof of Life
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by EricDSnider

"Dear Meg Ryan: You're pushing your luck. No F-words for you!"
4 stars

Russell Crowe gained notoriety for his nuanced turn in last year's "The Insider," then got the accompanying popular vote as an action star -- something no one thought he would ever be -- in this year's "Gladiator." His latest, "Proof of Life," shows more of his range, mixing the best elements of both previous characters: Here's a butt-kicking action star who's also calm, cool and dignified.

Crowe plays Terry Thorne, an Australian native who was once a British soldier but now works for an organization that negotiates for hostages and kidnapping victims. This profession has consumed his life, at the expense of his family.

He's called into action when Peter Bowman (David Morse) is kidnapped by rebel mercenaries in the fictitious South American nation of Tecala. (What, they couldn't think of a REAL South American country with an unstable government and drug-trafficking guerrillas? Or were they afraid Colombia would sue them for defamation?) Peter was really just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he turns out to be valuable: He's an engineer working on a dam that would help an American oil company build a pipeline, which the terrorists are opposed to -- once because it went against their politics, but now because it would disrupt their cocaine crop.

Peter's wife, Alice (Meg Ryan) is left to sit and worry back at the hacienda with Peter's sister, Janis (Pamela Reed). When Peter's company goes belly-up at the most inopportune of moments (just as Peter is kidnapped) and therefore won't be using any insurance money to help with the ransom, Terry steps in to help out on a free-lance basis.

The trailer hints at a reason for Terry's generosity that would complicate matters considerably, but not only does this element not develop until the film is well more than half-over, but it turns out not to be a sizable factor anyway -- which makes the trailer rather deceptive, in my opinion. The emphasis really is on the negotiations for Peter, and only slightly on Terry's personal motives and home life.

David Morse is an enormously sympathetic actor who makes Peter into more than a hapless victim. Peter is brave and noble even under the most adverse of circumstances; many actors would let him just sit in the guerrilla camp and become bearded, but Morse keeps the fire burning.

Meg Ryan, who should be prohibited from saying the F-word as much as she does in this movie, uses a husky voice and smokes a lot to remove the patina of innocence that usually radiates from her perky little face, but it is to little avail. Her character is not required to do anything more than sit at home and look worried. If Alice develops an attachment to Terry Thorne, it hardly shows.

Director Taylor Hackford keeps things moving at a brisk pace, resulting in a film that, despite being more than 2 hours in length, maintains a level of interest and excitement throughout. Much of that can be ascribed to Crowe's magnetism, but credit also goes to the action sequences, which, though few in number, are extremely satisfying. And underneath them is a film with unexpected layers and resonance.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4642&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/05/03 05:52:21
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User Comments

8/01/11 Piz Action scenes carry the film. A bit long but worth the watch! 4 stars
9/19/10 Jan Patterson Grand colors. David Morse A+ David Caruso :)) I keep coming back to it. 4 stars
8/26/05 ES Ho-hum, can't say it was terrible, David Morse should have had the lead over Crowe 3 stars
11/29/03 john Russel Crowe gives a great performance - phenomenal action sequence at the end! 5 stars
6/17/03 lyn interesting....entertaining...not thought provoking...an easy watch 4 stars
6/14/03 R.W. Welch Good action sequences. The rest just gets by. 3 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Decent 3 stars
4/06/03 Francis top shelf actors either sleep walking or looking awkward 3 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby Interesting, well-acted film that's overlong & only sporadically exciting. Caruso is aces! 2 stars
3/02/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Meh. 2 stars
12/29/02 John Miskey Great action film. Definitely in my Top 10. 5 stars
7/26/02 I Can't Swim Meg should retire; she can't act worth a damn. Best here is Crowe & Caruso & Morse 4 stars
7/24/02 palaboy101 one of Russell Crowe's best 5 stars
7/11/02 KMG Russell was hot....Meg GET THE FUCK OFF CAMERA! 3 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo No screen chemistry between two stars...Underdeveloped plot elements...Morse was good 2 stars
2/04/02 Bertha Venation Meg almost ruined this, was saved by Crowe & David Morse 4 stars
2/02/02 EzGoo Pretty good movie.. liked it... 5 stars
1/31/02 Andrew Carden Good Premise Wasted In A Constroversal and Confusing Adventure. 2 stars
12/18/01 Butterbean Crowe and Ryan had no chemistry, action scenes bored me, only Russ's accent kept me awake. 1 stars
12/15/01 Jack Baker the plot was solidly given and the detailed action was enjoyable, altogether rather good 4 stars
8/06/01 MsJuniper Fab edit & dialog -feels real & smart. True to Pronau article. Glad sex scene *cut* 5 stars
7/16/01 Monday Morning I'm getting to like Russell and loathe Meg more and more each movie. 4 stars
7/09/01 Piz a one-hour story told in two-and-a-half...not terribly impressive 3 stars
7/02/01 TLsmooth Russell Crowe Good. Meg Ryan Bad. Sucks Big Donkey Dicks Bad. 2 stars
6/26/01 The Bomb 69 A shame bad publicity killed this movie, intersting look at K&R, Ryan was miscast 4 stars
3/21/01 Burchy Cool idea, boring film 2 stars
3/16/01 fahrbot A bit slow at the beginning but worth it in the end 4 stars
1/10/01 RazorDog Good movie- It moved pretty slow in some parts, but had some great action. 5 stars
1/05/01 Bonnie Grossman Had it been a rental, I would have rewound after 30 minutes. "Chemistry" is chem-misery. 2 stars
12/23/00 Lance Good movie 4 stars
12/18/00 bart Boring! Stupid! Meg cam 1 stars
12/17/00 Will I didn't hate it. Overall it was okay, but Meg just doesn't cut it. 4 stars
12/15/00 Is could use more david morse, but still thrilling and engaging 5 stars
12/13/00 jon j strong male performances, but still pretty fucking boring 3 stars
12/13/00 Jules Long and boring! 2 stars
12/11/00 Lynnaea Crowe: thoroughly enjoyable; the subject: fresh, intriguing; Caruso's cameo: amusing. 4 stars
12/11/00 Greg Cotton A really excellent movie! Fine work by all the leads and none of the usual firearms goofs! 5 stars
12/11/00 Sharon C. I truly enjoyed this movie! David Morse was great. 4 stars
12/10/00 Angus moorehead Crowe shines while Ryan should stick to romantic comedy...she is awful. 3 stars
12/09/00 Darcy Morrish I thought the trailer for Speilberg's new movie was more exciting 2 stars
12/09/00 Kohawk This movie was engaging the whole way thru. Great ending, Crowe is the new Willis 4 stars
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  01-Mar-2001 (M)

Directed by
  Taylor Hackford

Written by
  Tony Gilroy

  Meg Ryan
  Russell Crowe
  David Caruso
  David Morse
  Pamela Reed
  Daniel Lugo

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