Proof of Life (2000) starring Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe, David Morse, Pamela Reed, David Caruso, Anthony Heald, Gottfried John, Alun Armstrong directed by Taylor Hackford Movie Review

Proof of Life (2000)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Meg Ryan as Alice Bowman in Proof of Life (2000)

Saving Ryan's Husband

Alice Bowman (Meg Ryan - You've Got Mail) and her husband Peter (David Morse - The Green Mile) are currently living in Tecala, South America where Peter is an engineer working on a dam. When Peter is kidnapped by the ELT Alice and sister in law Janis (Pamela Reed) believe the company's insurance covers hostage negotiation and ransom especially when specialist negotiator Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe - Mystery Alaska) arrives from London. But when it turns out there is no insurance and the company Terry works for washes there hands of the situation he goes it alone to help them negotiate the return of Peter whilst having feelings for Alice.

Let me tell you how "Proof of Life" could have been. It could have been this realistic look at what goes on in this sort of situation the game of negotiation which goes on for weeks and months whilst the negotiator picks up on any clue to work out where the hostage is. And it could have also done a realistic job of the emotional conflict which comes from when a wife fearing her husband is dead feels closeness to the man who is negotiating, who offers support and comfort in the hardest of times. Now that would have made for a great movie full of atmosphere and realism but that's not what we got.

Russell Crowe as Terry Thorne in Proof of Life (2000)

Nope "Proof of Life" is an action thriller where every aspect from storyline to character traits has been written to entertain. Now there is nothing wrong with that as it is entertaining to watch the confident Terry not only deal with locals but also negotiate with the kidnappers. It is also entertaining when it comes to the romantic subplot as both he and Alice fall for each other although do their best to control their feelings. Plus we get some entertaining action be it watching Peter stage a daring escape attempt with fellow prisoner Kessler or when Terry along with other negotiators decide to go commando and stage a rescue attempt. But to be honest it makes it quite ordinary with little you won't have seen before and at 135 minutes long it is too long and drawn out.

As such, with "Proof of Life" being more of a popcorn movie than it could have been the acting is right. Russell Crowe is confident and action hero as Terry whilst Meg Ryan is pleasant, emotional and a little bit vulnerable as Alice. These aren't realistic characters by any stretch of the imagination nor are those played by David Morse, David Caruso and Pamela Reed but they are entertaining.

What this all boils down to is that "Proof of Life" could have been a really great look at what happens during hostage negotiations and at 135 minutes long you sort of think maybe it is. But instead what you have is an entertaining but typical action thriller which easy on the mind and eyes especially for fans of Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan.