Proof (1992)

"Good"

Proof (1992) Review


Back when Russell Crowe and Hugo Weaving were just two more Australian actors making their bones on the indie scene Down Under, writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse cast them in Proof, a character study that probes the deeper questions underlying truth and friendship. It also provides us with an opportunity to see what Maximus and Agent Smith would look like with '80s hair.

Though Crowe would go on to command a higher paycheck, it's Weaving who seizes the plum role here as Martin, a blind man who takes pictures to crystallize the world around him so that others can later confirm his experiences. He meets Andy (Crowe), and the two strike up a friendship over a cat that Martin has inadvertently injured. Martin charges Andy with the task of viewing his photos, insisting that Andy must never lie to him. The paradox of Martin's strategy becomes immediately apparent. In order to receive the proof he craves, he must find someone he can trust.

Complicating matters is Martin's housemaid, Celia (Geneviève Picot). From the outset, we see them in a relationship best described as abusive. He torments her by shunning her affections. She torments him by taking advantage of his infirmity. Martin coldly explains to Andy that he does this simply to prevent her from ever feeling pity for him. Celia's motivations, on the other hand, are murkier, only becoming apparent as her manipulations escalate, drawing in Andy and compromising the trust he's built with Martin. Betrayal and assorted emotional scarring ensue.

Holding this all together are some strong performances. Weaving effortlessly treads where Audrey Hepburn and Patty Duke had gone before and where Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, and even Ben Affleck would soon follow. His blind man is an object of pity not because of his disability, but because of his inability to connect with another human being, an isolation that Weaving vividly conveys. Picot is mesmerizing as Martin's obsessed, calculating foil. It's hard to muster sympathy for someone who mistreats a blind man, but Picot finds the humanity in Celia that makes her actions at least slightly understandable.

Crowe actually delivers the least interesting performance, though much of that stems from the fact that his character is given the most to do with the least motivation. Why does he take such a liking to Martin? Why is he then so susceptible to Celia's mind games? Andy's actions suggest a complicated personality, but the half-assed backstory he feeds Martin does little to bring that persona into any sort of sharp relief.

What sets this film apart from any of a hundred disability-of-the-week pictures is its interest in exploring the fundamental issue inherent to Martin's dilemma. How do we know what we know? Flashbacks imply that perhaps Martin's mother (Heather Mitchell), ashamed of her son, lied to him about the world around him. Moorhouse wisely prevents the camera from showing us the truth so that we, like Martin, are forced to take the word of another before we can come to a decision. Think of it as an epistemology primer.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.