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    review by Luca Brasi                   Full Review List

Proof of Life

Note: I will not be commenting on the whole Meg & Russell thing. I'm as sick of it as you are. Thank you.

Ah, every now and then you'll see a film that shows off some cracking action, brilliant performances all round and a touching love story. Proof Of Life is not that film. Well, it's got cracking action but when it settles into the other two mentioned it gets iffy.

Russell Crowe is Terry Thorne, an unappreciated Kidnap & Ransom Insurance Agent - if a millionaire's hostage, and has been very nice and paid up his premiums... he'll be there. The film opens with a brilliant action sequence featuring a daring rescue in the heart of Russia, showing off just what the Bond films are missing these days - quick edits, impressive visuals, nail-biting action - the kind of stuff that makes you actually try and convince yourself that the hero's going to be alright. It's that kind of stuff that makes Proof Of Life a great project for an action movie. Trouble is, it's not an action movie. It's a drama.

Thorne is brought in to a fill-in-the-blank South American war-torn country to take care of hostage negotiations involving an affluent
American businessman (David Morse from The Green Mile). Trouble is, he's not a rich lad, and when his company decides to forget about him Thorne figures he's obligated to sort out the business with those dirty kidnappers himself. Having Morse's distraught wife (Meg Ryan) around isn't exactly helping, but hey, it's Meg Ryan (I wouldn't send her out of the room, would you? She's great scenery). After weeks of pressure Thorne has to decide what he's doing all this for; his moral obligation to help or the less likely fantasy of him & Meg jetting off together.

Sounds a little less exciting than pow-whack action. It is. The negotiation bits are a little tedious and really slow up the film, but thankfully there's an explosion, escape or gunfight never more than ten minutes away for your viewing pleasure.

The "expert" critics didn't think much of this one, and I see why - you never really think of Meg & Russell as a love struck couple in this, and that's the point of the film. While the film ends in an absolutely blinding frenzy of gunfire, action and firepower, the final resolution is a pretty unsatisfying down note.

But hey, I can think of a lot of worse ways to spend two hours. See Proof Of Life - come for the magazine gossip, stay for the action.

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