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Inspired by a Vanity Fair article, Proof of Life is that rarest of Hollywood commodities: the exploration of an original idea. Kidnapping may have graced our screens in the likes of Ransom, but the revelatory material here exposes a billion dollar industry. Engineer Peter Bowman (David Morse) is the kidnapee. Anti-government guerrillas in the fictional locale of Tecala in South America are his captors. More central to the plot is negotiator Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe’s first role after Gladiator). His wavering professional ethics allow him to overlook the fact that Bowman’s company has reneged on the insurance payment, but don’t prevent him from developing feelings for Bowman’s wife Alice (Meg Ryan). Cutting between the threads, the film benefits from Crowe and Ryan’s obvious chemistry as well as an atmosphere of tense reality provided by the lush locations. Perfectionist director Taylor Hackford insisted on filming in Ecuador despite the studio’s better judgement. The crew suffered a consistently hostile environment, but the jungle helps in maintaining a believable threat against Bowman’s life. What’s ultimately discovered by each of the principals is that they all had more to prove to themselves than they’d ever realise

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Weight 0.1 kg