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Proof of Life (2000), (R)
CAP Score: 31
CAP Influence Density: 2.49
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SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
PROOF OF LIFE (R) -- though the programming presents no sexual properties other than assumptions, it is still...
Proof of Life is a term used by a special anti-terrorist group. It is a requirement in bartering for the return of a hostage. The good guys need proof the hostage is still alive -- proof of life -- before they will conduct an exchange of the ransom for the hostage.
After an all too short period of R&R following a brutal assignment in Chechnya, expert negotiator for Luthran Risk International, a kidnap and rescue agency, Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe - Gladiator) is re-assigned to Tecala, South America. His new assignment is to secure the release of kidnapped U. S. engineer, Peter Burman (David Morse - The Green Mile). Burman has been kidnapped by drug world terrorists of the ELT (the liberation army of Tecala). Burman has been building a dam financed by a rich oil company. Though Burman is not an oil company employee, the ELT thinks he is and anticipates a large ransom from the oil company. Alas, the company Burman works for canceled all ransom insurance for overseas employees.
Through a series of flashbacks and other connective programming, the viewer is introduced to the Burmans, Thorne and Luthran Risk International plus background information about the ELT. The Burmans have experienced an inordinate amount of trouble in their pick-ip-and-go lifestyle of a traveling engineer, including the death of an infant daughter we never see. Extensive programming is spent on marital argumentation, finger pointing and blame-laying. After some creative and acrobat footage of the kidnapping, Thorne approaches Alice with assurances of getting her husband back through his K&R (kidnap and rescue) expertise.
Thorne initiates his investigations and negotiations by familiarizing himself with Burman through Mrs. Burman, Alice (Meg Ryan - Courage Under Fire) and his sister, Janice (Pamela Reed - Kindergarten Cop). Arriving in Tecala Thorne interrogates Alice and Janice in the home of the Burmans and establishes a base of operations. As if to say it is expected and normal, Thorne and Alice begin an ever deepening relationship Peter would find offensive. Though the programming presents no sexual properties other than assumptions, it is still adulterous of the two [Deut. 5:18]: she directly and he causing it by reciprocating [Prov. 6:32, Matt. 5:28]. And, of course, "justification" for the adulterous relationship was established in the initial portion of the film with marital arguments and strife supposedly caused by Peter's work.
Much of the film presented the many forms of brutality the captors exercised over Burman for months [Isa. 13:11]. A second captive, a member of the French Foreign Legion, who had been in captivity for 19 months added to the interest and expansion of the presentation by pretending to be a mentally unstable Bible-thumper. The way he pretended added some diverse moments leading the viewer to hope and expect the man was plotting and planning all the while, waiting for that one moment when escape was viable.
Some most majestic scenery of a mountainous range added some perspective to the degree of isolation needed for illegal drug empire operations [Hab. 2:12]. It also added to the torment of the injured Burman. The terrorists kept moving their location and the hostages to deceive and trick the authorities [Acts 13:10]. Some quite unnerving imagery portraying brutal treatment of the captives by evil people was amplified by the spartan living conditions necessitated by the constant mobility of illegal operations in a mountainous environment.
Both Crowe and Ryan are somewhat bland in this combination of romance and action. Reed seems to be the most animated and expressive of the quintessential trio, using much the same style she used in Kindergarten Cop. Crowe is nearly unemotional and without expression in comparison to his strength in Gladiator. Ryan is undercast, clearly capable of much more than she was given in Proof of Life. Though the writers obviously expected an adulterous romance [Prov. 30:20] between Crowe and Ryan to jump out at the audience, the chemistry was just not there. The "warfare" footage during the extrication of the hostages, which exploded in the last third of so of the movie, was the high of it albeit a violent and invasive high.
Among the additional ignominy was much foul language, use of women as toys, vulgar talk and expressions [Eph. 5:4], and of course illegal drug presence and usage. The display of carnage and dogs eating the flesh of dead bodies seemed most gratuitous as were many other examples of unfit programming. Regrading sexual content, Proof of Life was about equivalent to a TV soap opera: some porn pictures flashed on the screen, gamming, and [non-sexual] adultery. The main presence in this movie was many, many issues and portrayals of extreme violence with zillions of uses of firearms to threaten, control and kill. Many more findings of moral interest are provided in the Findings/Scoring section.
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):