Proof of Life

Rated 3.0 When an American engineer in South America (David Morse) is kidnapped, his wife (Meg Ryan) trusts a kidnap-and-ransom specialist (Russell Crowe) to gain his freedom; as the crisis stretches out, the wife and the negotiator grow increasingly attracted to each other. Actually, the attraction has to be taken largely on faith; despite their well-publicized real-life romance, Ryan and Crowe strike few sparks on screen, and the film is a bit overlong. Still, it’s well acted and smoothly directed by Taylor Hackford. Crowe’s smoldering intensity is the film’s greatest asset, along with the intriguing premise of Tony Gilroy’s workmanlike script. Ultimately, Hackford and Gilroy realize that phone negotiations will go only so far, and they resort to a daring commando raid to provide a big finish.