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Netflix Pick: Rescuing Romance in ‘Proof of Life (2000)

Today's pick is an action thriller starring Russell Crowe.

Proof of Life is a 2000 action/thriller about a woman who hires a professional negotiator to obtain the release of her engineer husband, who has been kidnapped by anti-government guerrillas in South America.

Today’s Netflix Pick is a tight little thriller that had plenty of intrigue behind the scenes as well. Starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, the film was a modest success at the box office and had critics divided but is nonetheless a pretty exciting movie with some good performances, especially Ryan who steps out of her wheelhouse. It’s Proof of Life and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

Proof of Life
Proof of Life, 2000 © Castle Rock Entertainment

THE STORY: Directed by the great Taylor Hackford, the films begins with Peter (David Morse) and Alice (Ryan) Bowman moving to South America as Peter begins work as a engineer for a company building a dam, who is also constructing an oil pipeline. One day, while in traffic, Peter is kidnapped by a rebel group called the Liberation Army of Tecala (the fictional country where the movie is set), and driven into the jungle. They believe he is involved with the pipeline. In comes Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe), a former member of the British Special Air Service who is an expert in this sort of thing, hoping to bargain Peter’s safe return. Problems arise when the company doesn’t have kidnap insurance, but Terry stays on and during the months long process, builds an intimate relationship with Alice, causing mixed emotions and conflict. Will they save Peter and if the do, will the truth come out?

Proof of Life
Proof of Life, 2000 © Castle Rock Entertainment

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: The big story surrounding the movie was that during filming, Ryan and Crowe become romantically involved, leading her to divorce, but aside from all the action behind the camera, the movie is an entertaining watch. Crowe is a strong presence and Hackford builds some palpable suspense, and while maybe Ryan and Crowe don’t exactly have the most electrifying of sparks, they are good together. Still, it’s Morse who is the one to watch. He’s a terrific actor and woefully underused in film (see our article on some of his most underrated performances). Here, he’s really good again and his moments are the best in the movie. If you’re looking for a solid action film with a little dangerous romance, give this a shot. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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