Proof of Life

December 8th, 2000


Proof of Life

No valid json found

David Morse stars as Peter BowmanRussell Crowe and Meg Ryan starAlice & TerryRussell Crowe stars as Terry ThorneMeg Ryan stars as Alice BowmanRussell Crowe stars as Terry Thorne

Alice hires a professional negotiator to obtain the release of her engineer husband, who has been kidnapped by anti-government guerrillas in South America.

Release Year: 2000

Rating: 6.2/10 (30,162 voted)

Critic's Score: 45/100

Director: Taylor Hackford

Stars: Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe, David Morse

In a mountainous South American country, drug-dealing rebels kidnap Peter Bowman, a US engineer who works for an oil company's subsidiary. The company calls in a negotiator, Terry Thorne, an Aussie ex-soldier based in London. When the subsidiary goes bankrupt, the oil company washes its hands of the matter and pulls Thorne. Bowman's wife Alice begs him to stay. She and Peter's sister cobble together some money, Thorne talks ransom terms with the cash-strapped rebels, and Peter, chained high in the mountains, is sustained by a photo of Alice. When the politics of the situation change, so must Thorne's strategy. And what can Alice and he do about the attraction growing between them?

Writers: Tony Gilroy, William Prochnau

Meg Ryan - Alice Bowman
Russell Crowe - Terry Thorne
David Morse - Peter Bowman
Pamela Reed - Janis Goodman
David Caruso - Dino
Anthony Heald - Ted Fellner
Stanley Anderson - Jerry
Gottfried John - Eric Kessler
Alun Armstrong - Wyatt
Michael Kitchen - Ian Havery
Margo Martindale - Ivy
Mario Ernesto Sánchez - Arturo Fernandez (as Mario Ernesto Sanchez)
Pietro Sibille - Juaco
Vicky Hernández - Maria (as Vicky Hernandez)
Norma Martínez - Norma (as Norma Martinez)


Official Website: Warner Bros. (UK) | Warner Bros. (US) |

Release Date: 8 December 2000

Filming Locations: Biedrusko, Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland

Box Office Details

Budget: $65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $10,207,869 (USA) (10 December 2000) (2705 Screens)

Gross: $32,598,931 (USA) (25 February 2001)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Originally it was planned that all extras were to receive the normal pay used for American extras. But the Ecuadorian government, who could not afford to have their actors paid that well demanded that the movie pay Ecuadorian salaries.

Continuity: Bowman empties his gun and the slide stays cocked back because it's empty. In the next scene the slide is back in position, but Bowman wouldn't know how to do this to a gun, having not used one before.

[first lines]
Terry Thorne: This is the conclusive ransom report for Mr. Pierre Lenoir. Location, Chechnya. Result, positive.

User Review

At it's heart it is a dramatic and enjoyable film - the padding is the problem


Peter and Alice Bowman are working on a dam in South America in the employment of a large oil company. When Peter is kidnapped the company bring in expert negotiator Terry Thorne. However when the oil company runs out of money due to no insurance, they take Terry off the case and he leaves for another job. However a pang of conscience brings him back to help Alice and he replaces the corrupt locals. As he tries to help get her husband back he also falls for Alice.

As a fan of David Caruso, I was annoyed that I missed this film at the cinema (I blinked and I missed it!) and by the time the video came out it had slipped my mind. Shown of tv last night was the perfect time for me to see it and, despite negative reviews, I actually quite enjoyed it. I think the problem is that the critics struggled to get past the handful of problems (more later) to find that the film was an effective, if talky, drama with a thriller edge. The premise is good and it allows tense scenes where Terry tough talks as well as scenes with Peter with his captors. It's not perfect in this regard as it is a bit talky but for me it was engaging - I got the impression from other comments that people had expected raging gun battles all the way through the film.

However what does damage the film is Alice Bowman. I can see the potential behind Terry and Alice's romance - it could have been another layer of drama. In reality it doesn't work a bit and only serves to take away from the main thrust of the film - their relationship never convinces and nothing of interest is actually done with it. Likewise the character of Alice doesn't really work either - I never believed she was emotionally going through the wringers to the degree the script suggested she would be. A big part of the blame for this must lie with Meg Ryan herself. She is miscast in the first place, but on top of that she is too pristine throughout the film - hair and makeup perfect no matter what and a stupid little hippie-girl personality that stops her being a real person. It is a bad performance and the film would have benefited from a shorter running time which lost the romance subplot and scaled back on Ryan's time.

However she is carried by a real star turn from Crowe. It may not be that clever a role but he does `tough' really well and he helps improve the tension of several scenes. Morse is a good actor and he does well here. The only downside of his performance is that he seemed fit and well outside of his makeup; I was looking for him to look thinner and mentally battered as the film progressed but he didn't - it's not his fault, I guess the film had no time to do this. Caruso gives the same tough performance he does in every thing he ever does so if you like that then you'll like him here - I do!

Overall this is an enjoyable film if you can get past it's major problems surrounding Alice and Terry's relationship. Script-wise this aspect was weak on paper, but a comparatively rubbish turn from the miscast Meg Ryan just makes it all the weaker. Thank god that the basic premise is tense and the male leads' tough talking is good fun.


Comments are closed.