Russell Crowe tries to use the star power garnered in Gladiator to lead his hostage film Proof of Life to victory, with the help of Meg Ryan. The movie isn't doing well in theaters, but the question is: 'Is that because of the movie or because of the God-awful title?'
More than anything else it's the title.
The acting is top notch as Crowe, who received an Oscar nomination last year for The Insider and is probably going to get one this year for Gladiator, and Meg Ryan, who has an endless list of good movies, combine. Crowe especially has to work between the tense situations of being a hostage negotiator and the more emotional scenes with Meg Ryan. And, of course, there is David Morse, who's been seen in tons of films; he's the best out of all of them.
Unfortunately, not counting the title of the movie, we can see why Proof of Life isn't seeing as high of numbers as it should considering the content and the actors. The main reason is that the previews for the film are just plain out misleading. First off, Proof of Life is not an action film. It is a drama with a very action-packed ending, and a few suspenseful scenes in between. Second off, it really isn't a romance, since the only sparks that fly between the two stars occur in one scene and one scene alone.
I was taken off guard. I was expecting a thrilling action movies with lots of guerilla warfare, even though I knew that wouldn't fit the plot. Personally, I would have liked that better, but what I got is what I got. The movie is well done, keeping a reasonable pace (although lagging in parts). All the characters work well, but I really saw two movies unfolding in Proof of Life.
One of which was the hostage negotiations, with Crowe trying to free Ryan's husband, and in the process falling in love with her. The other one was showing the horrid situation that Morse is in and his attempts to escape and get back to his wife. Out of the two, I would go for the latter. Morse really shows off his acting talent and the movie also gets a lot dirtier with the camp setting. But we get what we get.
As said earlier, the movie goes along at a reasonable but not overly fast rate, but the ending is action-packed, exciting, suspenseful, and explosive. The movie needed a scene like this by the time it got to the end and Proof of Life has one. There's lots of explosions, gunfights, and stuff like that.
Proof of Life is a very realistic action thriller, but it is up to you whether weighing the drama over the action was the best choice. If it hadn't been marketed as an action movie I would have enjoyed it a lot more, but as it stands I still liked it, even though it could have been better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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