Classic Intel: Proof Of Life - Online Review

'oodles of Russell Crowe talking into a radio and Meg Ryan doing her injured dog impression (close eyes slightly, wince, nod head up and down so hair bounces)'

There are several individual moments within Proof Of Life which basically meant that, for me, it was a near-interminable struggle to get through.

The first of these is any moment when David Caruso was on screen. Caruso's shtick, honed to 'perfection' on CSI: Miami is neither big nor clever and is, in fact, hammy and slightly disturbing. His Dino may be a bit-part player in Taylor Hackford's kidnap drama but whenever he was on the screen he produced nothing but a feeling of antipathy towards the film and the character, extremely confusing considering he plays an ally of Russell Crowe's negotiator Terry.

The second is Hackford's horribly twee directing style. Released in 2000, Proof Of Life looks much much older and the apparently never-ending use of montages had my head swimming from the number of cross fades. One in particular, which switched between Meg Ryan telling Russell Crowe how much she loves David Morse's character and David Morse simultaneously telling Gottfried John how much he loves Meg Ryan's character, was vomit-inducing. Hackford may know how to direct a straight-up drama (I'm a fan of Ray) but he struggles to find any tension or machismo in a film which should be much more of a thriller.

And that, really, is the core problem with Proof Of Life: it's just not thrilling enough. The plot should have oodles of threat and tension but it doesn't, eschewing these for oodles of Russell Crowe talking into a radio and Meg Ryan switching between her injured dog impression (close eyes slightly, wince, nod head up and down so hair bounces) and her portrayal of a strong and resolute women, both of which jar and bounce off one another painfully. There are some small moments of decent thriller material (the opening scene is great, the final jungle scenes are average) but really Hackford's film never gets moving properly and certainly never proves that there's any life here worth writing home about.




Proof Of Life is currently free to watch on Lovefilm with an appropriate subscription.

Look further...

'an average entertaining thriller, sometimes appearing to be a tad over-the-top' - Common Sense Movie Reviews, 7/10

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