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Movies are cultural artifacts made to reflect cultures as well as affect them. Movies are meant to be important forms of art, sources of popular entertainment, and powerful channels for educating and indoctrinating citizens. The analysis and evaluation of movies is referred to as criticism and can be done by film scholars or journalistic film critics. The analysis of a film based on the plot summary and general description has a significant impact on whether people decide to watch the movie.

In this regard, this paper provides the analysis of the movie Proof of Life. Proof of Life was released in 2000 and depicts an era of violence in a South American state in the 1980s. It is of thriller genre that depicts themes of spying, private investigation, terrorism, kidnappers, relationships, and emotional involvements.

Peter Bowman, an engineer employed to build a dam by the company he works for, is kidnapped by an outlawed in a busy street in broad daylight. Despite a strained relationship at home, his wife Alice seeks help from Bowman’s corporation in an attempt to rescue her husband. The corporation sends in Terry Thorne, a former soldier, now a kidnap and ransom negotiator. However, the corporation has become bankrupt and thus cancels the hostage insurance and Alice is left to deal with the case on her own. Nevertheless, Thorne is sympathetic and goes back to Alice to offer his assistance. Relying on whatever money Alice and her family can raise, Thorne is able to strike a deal with the kidnappers. Bowman’s attempt to escape becomes futile and he is recaptured and tortured. Bowman’s only cling to hope is a picture of Alice, who is fighting back the feelings developing between her and Thorne.

Generally, the movie’s composition includes a fair deal of chase scenes and violence. As expected of investigative themes, there is a lot of planning, gathering of information, debates in decision making and motives. Despite being a bloody movie with scenes of violence, feelings, relationships, and character biodata development have been used to accentuate the plot development. For instance, Alice is supposed to rescue her husband from the kidnappers but ends up falling in love with the private investigator in charge of the rescue mission. This is a moment of dilemma. It is understandable that rescuing Alice’ husband will interfere with the romantic relationship developing between Alice and Thorne. But again, Bowman cannot be left to suffer in the hands of terrorists and it is only humane that he is rescued. The relationship and feelings development may have been used in the movie to show that emotions and attachments can deter people’s reasoning in solving matters of significance such as terrorism and abduction.  

The setting, time, and era of the movie have been used to reflect the cultural phenomena that widely occurred in the society at the time. Tecala is a fictional state in the South America in which government instability was present in the 80s and 90s. Activities of terrorism, drug dealing, murder, violence, and spying were rampant in this era when guerrillas kidnapped citizens in exchange for ransom. The scenes reflect reality that would be in terrorism and spying situation. First, the location used has outlawed groups because of government instability at the time. Moreover, being in South America, the country’s landscape mostly consists of mountains, and cliffs offering appropriate hiding sites for criminals or detectives as they hunt down the criminals. Actions involve climbing on trails or climbing the roles with ropes during the counterterrorism activities. Miscellaneous settings include a fancy mansion for crime, and prison for law breakers. The audience is made to know that Thorne, the private detective, is a former Australian SASR soldier and serves as a British SAS officer following the lack of action in Australia. Thorne is now given the responsibility of serving as specialist in kidnap and ransom negotiation.

The movie depicts the themes of terrorism and counterterrorism through the characters, whose cast brings out the mood, tone, and attitude towards the plot. The main character, Terry Thorne, is a private investigator whose seriousness and dedication to the work creates a somber mood of the plot. As expected of the hawk-eyed profession, Thorne is depicted as the most intelligent person, with a robust athletic physique signifying strength and protection. Thorne is mostly serious with occasional sense of humor. Nevertheless, as least expected of the profession, Thorne uses emotions at some situations to make a decision. For instance, when out of pity, he offers to negotiate the ransom for Alice after the corporation pulled out even though Alice could not afford to pay him. Moreover, Thorne falls in love with his client in the attempt to rescue her husband. Ideally, private investigators are portrayed to be extremely logical and rationale. The best that Thorne does is an attempt to conceal his feelings for Alice, although the audience is able to note this romantic tension. Thorne is also assisted on his role by Dino, a former Green Beret. The role signifies that even the most professional investigators require an assistant, almost as efficient as they are when conducting their services.

The secondary main character, Alice, is depicted as a beautiful woman who experiences emotional conflicts. Despite her strained marital relationship with her husband, she seeks to rescue him from the kidnappers. However, she also falls in love with the investigator. Alice’ main role is in portraying the helpless situation that the average citizens can find themselves in the event of a kidnap. As a citizen of ordinary class, Alice could not raise the initial requested ransom, yet her husband’s life depended on it.

The main adversary in the movie is a Hispanic youth and a member of a criminal organization. In reality, this character is identified with cultural representations of malice and violence in the society, this being well-organized groups of youths involved in crime and terroristic activities. Crimes of drug abuse, murder, theft, and terrorism have been rampant in the society especially in the 20th and 21st centuries when social cohesion is becoming weaker.

The style of the movie has incorporated accounts of torture and death and profanity expressed in some bits of foul language. There is an estimate ten deaths in the film and unusual forms of death include perforation using bullets, swords, and knives. The kind of violence is demonstrated in the mission to save a kidnapped person. It involves hand-to-hand combat and use of guns, knives, and swords. There is also a use of two techno gadgets.

It is worth noting that the Proof of Life is based on the case of a real-life kidnapping victim named Tom Hargrove. It is also based on a journalistic article Adventures in the Ransom Trade by William Prochnau that was published in the Vanity Fair. This is a representation of the rampant kidnappings that were taking place at the time and the request for large sums of ransom by the kidnappers. The title Proof of Life is based on the kidnapping event in which the family of the kidnapped has to be assured through communication channels that the kidnapped is still alive, in the process of raising the ransom.

The completed analysis is about the movie Proof of Life. Movie analysis is an important segment of human functionality in the society. It assists in critical evaluation of the role that a movie plays in manifesting the cultural artifacts in the society.

Code: Sample20

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