Proof of Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Proof of Life Reviews

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July 29, 2017
One of the best movies ever!
½ June 17, 2017
ok thriller that got mared by the affair scandle
January 2, 2017
It's good movie to watch
August 31, 2016
based on true events about a damn engineer who was kidnapped in Ecuador by rebel guerilla and how when noome else would take the case an ex marine successfully did. good actors. good story.
½ August 26, 2016
Fairly insignificant movie. The dialogue and pacing doesn't rattle any emotions. There is some suspense and action, but you're only tagging along and not truly invested. Rating: 7 / 10
June 4, 2016
I think this was a great movie, may not be action galore but well balanced movie. Because of your 40% rating, im now doubting the ratings from rotten tomatoes
April 10, 2016
Great action segment but not much else. Those "feelings" didn't have to be written in.
½ January 12, 2016
Proof of Life is a boring movie that does not deserve to be called a thriller.
September 17, 2015
When a person is kidnapped for money, a team of ransom negotiators are drafted in to figure out a way of cooperating with the kidnappers, and essentially either reach a payoff amount to return the hostage or get the hostage back without squandering any dosh. But before any negotiating is done, ‚??proof of life‚?? insurance must be given. A ‚??proof of life‚?? can come in the form of a photograph, radio transmission, video message or a simple phone call will suffice. And when you combine this with guerrilla kidnappers and romantic negotiators, the idea of ‚??proof of life‚?? becomes slightly skewed because of the amount of genres roaming this appropriately titled film, Proof of Life. Inspired by a Vanity Fair magazine article on the ‚??Adventures in the Ransom Trade‚?? and Thomas Hargrove‚??s real-life kidnapping and ransom experience in the book The Long March To Freedom, director Taylor Hackford has used these inspirations to a limited extent, indebting much of his time to the romantic plotline that contextually took the Hollywood showbiz world by storm, but lifelessly injected Proof of Life with a needless subplot that by the end overpowers everything else.

Set in the fictional country of Tecala, a place located in the South American jungles rendered dangerous by guerrilla rebels of the Liberation Army of Tecala (ELT). Recently relocated, protagonist Alice Bowman is unhappily involved with her husband Peter who has been hired to assist with building the dam. As Peter is ambushed by the ELT on his way to work for mistakenly thought to be someone from an oil pipeline company, Terry Thorne, a successful kidnapping and ransom expert is drafted in to help get Peter back. With Peter stuck deep in the ELT camp in the jungles, Terry must defeat obstacles and negotiate with these rebels to get him back, but as we get closer to Peter‚??s rescue, it seems far less important than when he was taken for Alice and Terry have formed an unrequited bond that could shatter the mission.

Meg Ryan has been in so many romantic classics that her acting image has threatened to twist Proof of Life into just a romance flick. Alice Bowman outrageousness comes from her skewed priorities that distort even further as the film climaxes. The return of her husband should spark Ryan into a rollercoaster of emotion, but she never bats an eyelid and simply hugs her husband who this whole film was about, yet spends a majority of her time with Crowe who was only gone for a couple of hours or so! Her priorities are quite problematic for herself, the filmmakers and most importantly the viewer, who never get over the mistreatment of her husband and her selfish standards that are based purely on her sexual desires. David Morse‚??s Peter Bowman is made of rocks, proving that the jungle will not break him. He brings to life this desperate atmosphere with his brazen looks deteriorating simultaneously as his acting realistically expands. Russell Crowe‚??s quiet charisma as Terry Thorne is excellent for both romance and thriller. He manages to make Ryan love him, and us too, for his smartness takes the film into interesting places. He connects both worlds therefore he remains an integral character to the proceedings. And let‚??s not forget the acting of native South Americans is pretty astonishing. They breed a reality into most situations that Proof of Life automatically feels like a real life kidnapping case with all the emotions heightened tenfold.

Proof of Life suffers greatly from its own disjointedness. The characters don‚??t seem to connect or you tend to not feel any emotion coming from them. No one really seems like an integral character to the plot as much as Ryan and Crowe are, and their ever-blossoming romance that in the end is rendered as meaningless as the kidnapping itself. The disjointedness is also felt through the jumping from tender romance and lacklustre ransom conversations to jungle backdrops and guns-toting rebels. Both atmospheres are two very different places, and the unevenness of the surroundings infiltrates the overall feel of the film. It feels like we are watching two very different movies that don‚??t seem to connect as much as they should. Both could do with further investigation of the romance, and the kidnapping, but must never be put together. Imagine if it were split into two films: one would be called, Part One: In Captivity, and the other, Part Two: The Unnecessary Romance. This incoherence is demonstrative of how Hollywood has trapped another film with its contrived ways, forcing Proof of Life to become a number in Hollywood‚??s collection of films with potential ruined. Because the artificialness of the story is evident in the unnecessary romance plotline that seemingly takes a stranglehold over every other genre, there is a bareness to the part of the script we actually came to see: the kidnap and ransoming.

The genre fusion within Proof of Life has it moments to remember and genres to forget. The opening scenes are pretty much a depiction of this disjointedness and the confusion of the genres in action. The kidnapping is so rapidly unexpected it fails to electrify seeing as it was the crux of what the film was based on. Even worse, the melodramatic encounter between Alice and Peter leads suddenly onto the kidnapping and is ineffectively resolved with an unconvincing whimper at the end. Proof of Life‚??s ability to thrill is its best feature, but it works on its own, never infiltrating the timid scenes. We get to see Peter in action, handcuffed and kept prisoner, meaning we get to see the kidnappers and their lair, who Peter bonds with and by the end have an understanding of their reasons for abduction and their lifestyle. Even on the other side of proceedings, Proof of Life picks up steam when it teaches us about the processes of kidnapping and ransom, and entertains us with reality. From when the fake ransom drop acting as a good faith payment is interrupted by Terry who recognises the falseness of such payments, to when Peter‚??s getaway is cut short and the altercations between Peter and the captors, Proof of Life works on some levels, but all in all is too easy and that is not a good sign when making a thriller‚?¶ because it has to thrill! It is an interesting side to Proof of Life that unfortunately is only half-heartedly engaged with as the romance is given priority and shatters any intensity the kidnapping is meant to radiate.

Proof of Life was marketed as a kidnap action thriller; with no romance whatsoever taking precedence. But the context in which the film was released has changed the way we look at this film completely. Ryan was married in real life to Dennis Quaid at the time, and Crowe, a recent Oscar winner, was never fazed by her marital status, and a romantic affair between both actors continued off-screen, even if Alice and Terry left it unrequited. This revelation came shortly after the film‚??s release, and due to this, Proof of Life suffers because the romance suddenly becomes all the more important, and extra lame when their love is never acted upon. The film should never have been about love, more about the kidnapping, political intonations and the thriller of the slow-burning plot unravelling into all-out action. The romance overshadows all this, and that is a major problem for a film whose title states kidnapping, and without which the romance would never have arose.

The Verdict:

Proof of Life deals with too many genres to get it right, but with an over-reliance on romance, it was never going to thrive.

‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚?? 4/10
½ June 17, 2015
Ok Movie. It shows something very real about South America but a very unreal way of how it's handled. I guess it earns some points for having Russel Crowe as a likeable character
June 1, 2015
Without the star power this would have been straight to DVD fare but the leads elevate it somewhat.
Robbanflix
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
This movie was "okey" and when i saw Russell Crowe was in it i had to see it , superb actor. Anyway the movie its not one of his best ones and may feel a bit slow and long.. Altho there are some more action scenes towards the end and overall its a quite well made flick i guess. Russell plays a negotiator and must help a man from a prison camp..
December 30, 2014
Believable performance by Russell Crowe and like it had a bit of edge in interaction with Meg Ryan's character
½ June 27, 2014
I thought this was a pretty good movie with original content. One of Crowe's better films. Though I've never thought of Ryan as much of an actor.
½ March 22, 2014
Proof Of Life these days is only ever remembered for three things: the notorious affair between Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe (Which eventually lead to Meg Ryan's divorce from Dennis Quaid), the tragic death of a stuntman during filming, and it was also the start of the death spiral of Meg Ryan's acting career. The film also released to less than stellar reviews that basically panned it as being a generic and routine thriller.

Despite such criticisms and scandals surrounding the film, I immensely enjoyed Proof Of Life, as I found it gripping, thrilling, suspenseful, and a hell of a lot of fun to watch - which is what a thriller should be. Can it be implausible and cheesy at times? Yes, it can be. However, it is skillfully directed, well acted, and overall well made.

The plot is simple: Alice Bowman's husband is kidnapped by a South American revolutionary group and they demand a ransom. A man who specializes in kidnapping and ransom takes on the assignment to rescue her husband in a dangerous high stakes game of life and death.

While the plot is simple, it works very well for the film as a whole as it moves at a brisk pace and is never boring. Even when characters are interacting with each other, I found myself engaged with what they were doing, thanks to the solid performances given by the actors. However, when the action heats up, it's one hell of a ride from start to finish.

In the end, Proof Of Life is a tremendously underrated thriller. I'm not sure of why people don't really like this film, but oh well. If you enjoy watching thrillers and you're willing to check your brain at the door, Proof Of Life will give you the goods when you watch it and you'll have a good time.
½ March 20, 2014
I really liked this, not without it's faults but a great story and I enjoyed the entire cast, the location, the action scenes and watching (a surprisingly hunky) Russell Crowe struggle with unrequited love for another mans wife. I also liked how the story kept flipping back and forth between 'Alice' and her negotiating ransom demands to free her husband and the hell 'Peter' is going through via a dated timeline after being kidnapped by South American rebels. David Caruso was a surprise here too, actually enjoyed his character. Meg Ryan, keeping fantastic hair throughout plays the wife of an engineer (David Morse) who is working in south America. When he is kidnapped by terrorists, she retains the services of hostage negotiator Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe) and the two (sort of) fall for each other. 03.14.14
romantic thriller
January 18, 2014
ENTRETENIDA PELICULA
½ November 10, 2013
Yes the script could have been better, I still really enjoyed this film.
September 27, 2013
I watched this movie hundreds of times!! Great story, amazing acting!
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