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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 64:59)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - by director Taylor Hickford
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Animated menus - Main Menu
  • Awards/Nominations

Proof of Life

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 130 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Alice and Peter Bowman have worked all over the world. They have come to Tecala, South America to build a dam to provide a more controlled water flow to the local river so that a long history of flooding can be stopped. Peter works for the oil company Quad Carbon who bid for and won a contact to build an oil pipeline across the country, a project that has now cost the company more than their business can manage and has placed Peter's dam project in jeopardy.

Peter is kidnapped while on his way to the office to argue that the dam project should go ahead. He has been taken by the powerful Liberation Army of Tecala, a group who are against the government and who have resorted to drug manufacture and kidnapping in order to fund their activities. While the kidnap is a major worry to Alice she is somewhat comforted by the arrival from London of Terry Thorne, an Aussie K&R (Kidnap and Ransom) specialist, who is to negotiate for the release of Peter. Alas soon after his arrival, Terry is called back to London as the kidnap insurance policy for Peter has not been paid due to the fragile financial position of Quad Carbon. Alice and her recently arrived sister in law are left with an inexperienced and shifty local security officer to negotiate for Peter's release.

"Holy snapping arseholes look at this 'ey."

Will Peter be released? Will Alice and Terry act on their growing attraction for one another? Grab a copy of this movie and find out!

  Video
Contract

As usual I did a rough measurement and the aspect ratio for this transfer is approximately 2.40:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

I want you to think about everything you like about a DVD video transfer and come up with a list. Come on, think about it! Ok, got that list in your mind? Does your list include things like great sharpness, excellent detail levels, a natural and well thought out colour palette, solid blacks and great shadow detail? Well if it does then you've just listed the good qualities of this video transfer. This transfer allows you to see the wonderful scenery of the Andes beautifully filmed by Polish cinematographer Slawomir Idziak.

What about artefacts you say? Yes there are some but they are all pretty minor and I didn't find any of them distracting. The most prominent artefact is aliasing which can be seen in a number of scenes. Luckily it is well controlled and is never visible for more than a couple of seconds at a time. If you look for it, some fine film grain is noticeable when large sections of sky or mist are shown. This print is relatively clean with only small flecks visible from time to time. Finally, there are subtitles on the print to help us english speakers with the spanish dialogue. When these are shown some telecine wobble becomes evident. The wobble is minor as it is not noticeable when the subtitles are absent.

This is an RSDL disc with the layer change taking place at 64:59. It is not well placed as it occurs right in the middle of a quiet conversation between Alice and Terry although it is negotiated fairly quickly.

  Audio
Contract

This Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very good indeed. It's a wonderfully immersive effort in which all channels are put to good use. You will hear many good examples of directionality such as when helicopters fly overhead or cars drive from one side to the other. You will also hear many great examples of ambient sounds such as insect noises, the hustle and bustle of the city and the sounds of the jungle. The subwoofer is used to good effect for explosions, helicopters in flight and the like without overpowering the other channels. It also has a role supporting the score particularly during the more percussive sections.

The dialogue of this film is generally clear but there were a couple of sections in which I felt that the level was a touch low. This meant that a couple of extra notches of volume was required to ensure that I could clearly hear what was being said.

  Extras
Contract

The following extras are available on this disc:

Cast and Crew Listing

This is a single page that lists the main cast and crew members.

Theatrical Trailer

Framed at 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced, this trailer is of excellent quality. It runs for 2:11 and features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound.

The Making Of Proof Of Life

Running for 14:04 this is your standard promotional "making of" that includes interview segments cut together with footage from the film with some brief footage taken behind the scenes thrown in for good measure. The video is full frame during the interview and behind the scenes segments while footage from the movie is matted down to 2.35:1. The audio for this feature is Dolby Digital 2.0. Quality wise it is good but nothing much of interest is shown and so it's pretty boring stuff.

Commentary By Director Taylor Hackford

This screen specific commentary by Taylor Hackford is very much about the story and the characters. We are also told about each of the South American actors and where they come from. Some interesting information about the research for the script, the Kidnap and Ransom industry and his love of South America is sprinkled throughout. Towards the end of the commentary he tells us that the controversy surrounding the relationship between Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe led to the removal of a major love scene during post production. Preview audiences preferred a cut of the movie without this scene. Unlike many other commentaries there are very few pauses and this coupled with Taylor's relaxed style made this pretty easy to listen to despite there being less technical information than I'd normally like.

  Overall  
Contract

This is a well directed movie that provides two main story arcs for us to follow. The first is the kidnap and imprisonment of Peter Bowman in the high Andes and the second is the tense story of his wife Alice and K&R specialist Terry as they battle to negotiate his release. There are other aspects to the story as well all of which make this deliberately paced thriller/drama solid viewing.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=864
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      And I quote...
    "A deliberately paced and well made thriller/drama presented on a high quality DVD starring "our local boy made good" Russell Crowe."
    - Michael Chappell
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Loewe Xenix 5006DD
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 105(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2801
    • Speakers:
          Tannoy Mercury M4
    • Centre Speaker:
          Tannoy Mercury MC
    • Surrounds:
          Tannoy Mercury M1
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-120
    • Audio Cables:
          Monster Lightspeed 100
    • Video Cables:
          ConCord SCART
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