Proof of Life

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

In a small South American country nestled in the Andes Mountains, engineer Peter Bowman (David Morse) leaves his wife Alice (Meg Ryan) one morning to drive to the site of his dam building project. Suddenly a group of anti-government rebels appear, grab Peter and take him away. That begins a four-month nightmare for both Alice and Peter. She meets Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe), an internationally famous kidnap-and-ransom expert hired by Peter's employer. But her hopes are dashed when the company replaces the high-priced Terry with a local negotiator because they are on the brink of bankruptcy. Soon, demands for a $3 million ransom start, and Terry realizes only he can really help Alice. Meanwhile, Peter learns to survive deplorable conditions in a primitive camp high in the mountains with the help of another prisoner, a missionary who pretends he's crazy. Terry designs a dramatic, dangerous scheme to rescue Alice's husband, even though he and Alice appear to have fallen in love. PROOF OF LIFE has a winning formula: Action + suspense + Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe = rousing entertainment.

PROOF OF LIFE conveys the growing attraction between Terry and Alice without resorting to either implied or actual bedroom scenes. But the story also implies a strong commitment to marital fidelity. They only kiss once, as Terry leaves on his rescue mission. Why couldn't this same restraint be applied to the dialogue? Instead, viewers are assaulted by 68 obscenities, seven regular profanities and 15 crudities. To explain the nature of kidnap and ransom operations, the opening scenes, shot in black and white, show Terry involved in a rescue mission which erupts into a battlefield of machine guns, explosions, blood and gore. This same type of battlefield action repeats during Peter's rescue. Graphic, but not gratuitous, best describes the violence. Also, Peter suffers a deep knife wound in his foot early in his captivity and is forced to hike for miles through dense jungles. The open, bloody wound is shown several times. Heroic deeds, respect for marriage vows, courage and perseverance all play major roles, but the real villain of PROOF OF LIFE, gratuitous foul language, overshadows their virtue.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (15) times - Mild 6, Moderate 9

Obscene Language: Many (68) times F-word 31, s-word 27, finger gesture 1

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 7 (GD 5, G 1, J 1), Exclamatory 2

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (battlefield action with explosions, machine gun assaults, guerrilla fighting, guns pointed at prisoner's head, man falls off cliff into rapids, man caught in animal trap, slapping)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (men in bar make suggestive remarks about women)

Drugs: Several times (cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking in bar, cocaine growers smoke and snort dope)

Other: Marriage vows respected; man risks life to save stranger; courage and perseverance sustain prisoner

Running Time: 135 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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