After watching this movie the second time on HBO, I
was impressed at how much better it was this time around than the first
time I watched it when it premiered.
Because of this reaction now, I kept wondering what
it was about the movie, the first time, that made me not appreciate it
Many have given their reasons, and first on that
list is the Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe relationship while the movie was
showing in the theaters.
For me, however, the reason lies on the fact that
this was the next Crowe movie after Gladiator. I had just become a Russell fan and I had just seen him in Gladiator and we are all aware of the movie audiences’ reaction to
this movie and Russell Crowe.
So my reason for not getting excited about this
movie the first time was the fact that it followed such a great film and
no movie afterwards, that includes Gladiator’s star, would have stood
up to such a standard. The
exception, of course, is A Beautiful Mind, which, if it had been Russell
Crowe’s next, immediate movie after Gladiator, would, and has, stood
up to Gladiator’s standards.
But Proof of Life is a different kind of movie and
by watching it in this way, a few years later, I can appreciate the
themes of the movie. First,
there’s the theme of the realities of life as exemplified by the
kidnapping and ransom, corporate takeovers and layoffs, the “fake
war” that was necessary during the rescue, and the
political-drug-societal issues. The
“fake war” reminds me of Pierce Brosnan and the Tailor of Panama. Second, there are the personal and human level themes as
exemplified by the following: 1) attraction of Terry with
Alice, 2) Alice’s husband’s survival instincts and the
literal pain he is enduring, 3) the kind of life of the
individuals in the mountains, and 4) the gap between the maid in
Alice’s house and “Marko.”
Furthermore, where are those moments of Russell
Crowe’s acting that are enjoyable? One that quickly comes to mind is when he is squirting his eyes
with fluid in the helicopter and then his split second facial expression
as he looks outside of the helicopter.
Other scenes include the following: 1) when he is talking about his son,
2) when he finds out
and hugs the maid after she reveals she knows who “Marko” is,
3) when he tells Alice’s husband about Molly during the rescue,
and 4) when he and Ryan are saying goodbye and he watches her car drive off.
Also, at the end of the movie, as the camera pans
"over" the city in Ecuador which shows the buildings and cathedrals tucked
away in hills and mountains, the camera seems to be like a “positive
blessing” to all that the movie has just illustrated.
So I felt something at the end of the movie and
would even consider buying a copy.
So if you are truly a Russell Crowe fan, give Proof
of Life your time and open your mind to its themes and of course, enjoy
He has proven his exemplary talent in
drama. His rescue scenes in Proof of Life also shows he can excel in action/adventure films as
he did with Gladiator.
The more I watch him, the more I see how he can
join together emotional-drama and action/adventure.
Maybe Master and Commander will illustrate this
Finally, whatever you think of Proof of Life, at
least you get to hear Russell Crowe talk like he would normally talk!
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