Proof of Life

Rated: R
Stars: Russell Crowe, Meg Ryan, David Morse

Russell Crowe is top-notch as a rescue specialist in this intense, well-written drama about an American engineer kidnapped in South American. This is the movie in which he and co-star Meg Ryan reportedly fell in love (both on screen and off – she got to “cheat” on two husbands at once.) That aside, this film manages keen interest from the get-go.

Crowe is Terry Thorne, an operative for an insurance company. He establishes his expertise quickly during the rescue of a man held captive by Chechen rebels. The moment he returns home, he’s sent off to a imaginary country in South America called Tecala where a drug cartel called the ELT has just kidnapped Peter Bowman (David Morse), an engineer working there to build a dam supposedly on behalf of an oil company. The rebels think the oil company is going to cough up big bucks for him, but Terry, Peter’s wife Alice (Meg Ryan) and sister-in-law Janis (Pamela Reed) soon learn that the company didn’t take out “kidnap insurance” on any of its personnel so it looks like Peter is on his own. It’s only after an attack of conscience that Terry returns on his own accord to help Alice get her husband back.

Now fully in charge, it’s Terry’s job to calm the relatives, establish ‘proof of life’ of the victim and negotiate the best deal possible for acquiring his release. Meanwhile, the ELT has escalated violence in the city against civilians and the government by exploding bombs at will. When negotiations with the group break down, Terry gets some help from another operative friend, Dino (David Caruso) who’s looking out for his own client held by the same group. Combining forces, Terry, Dino and a few good men storm the ELT camp high in the mountains and all hell breaks loose.

Lotta says this is all good stuff: solid acting from all onboard and an especially involving story with lots of good

Reviewed 12/8/00