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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

New Line Home Cinema presents
Proof (1991)

Andy: Why did she give you a camera? Sort of cruel, isn't it?
Martin: I wanted a camera.
Andy: Why?
Martin: I thought it would help me to see.

- Russell Crowe, Hugo Weaving

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: November 01, 2004

Stars: Hugo Weaving, Genevieve Picot, Russell Crowe
Other Stars: Heather Mitchell, Jeffrey Walker
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

MPAA Rating: R for sensuality and some language
Run Time: 01h:29m:51s
Release Date: November 02, 2004
UPC: 794043694226
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-B+B B-

DVD Review

When one sense fails, the others strengthen to compensate. This may be useful, but when our sensory experience is incomplete, we are unavoidably at risk. Blindness is perhaps the most frightening of these ailments. The world in which a blind person lives can only be comprehended by the fellow blind; it is a new definition of reality that we cannot capture by simply shutting our eyes tightly and groping around a room. Adaptations occur. Proficiency increases in time. Braille, guide dogs, and other aids are utilized, but in the end, such individuals remain vulnerable.

Martin (Hugo Weaving), blind since birth, is fully aware of this truth. Martin is distrustful of the people, places, and things around him. This attitude stems from his childhood relationship with his mother, who Martin suspected was a chronic liar, deceiving him about the world outside his window. Every day she would describe the garden beyond to Martin, creating a verbal image of the changing seasons. One day, Martin was given a camera, and he took a picture of the garden. If someone described the picture, would it match what his mother told him? So begins his redefinition of reality—a photographic record of images unknown to the blind, confident, yet troubled man.

Martin takes pictures of everything he encounters. Of course, he does not know what he is pointing at. His friend Andy (Russell Crowe) becomes his translator, describing what is contained on each 3x5. Martin then labels the back of the picture in braille, forever preserving the succinct, descriptive statements formulated by Andy. This becomes Martin's reality, or proof of things he has encountered throughout his life. He grows to trust Andy implicitly, proceeding with full confidence that what he is describing is truly what Martin happened to capture.

Things grow exceedingly complicated. Martin's housekeeper and caretaker, Celia, is a damaged, manipulative woman. While Martin takes pictures to create a sense of reality, Celia collects photographs of her one true obsession: Martin himself. She is deeply in love with the blind man, wanting to posses and control him completely. Martin despises Celia, though he finds her services invaluable. He feels she is an evil woman, conjuring the deceptive attributes of his late mother. Celia hides things from Martin in his own home, confusing and frightening him. This is less the attitude of an evil woman, and more akin to a woman in deep pain. She feels neglected and rejected by Martin, though she cannot bring herself to leave him. Inner peace is a seemingly distant dream for both.

Jocelyn Moorhouse's inventive film reminds me immediately of Memento; Christopher Nolan's film seems to take many pointers from this intriguing thriller. Before long, Andy is forced to lie to Martin to protect Celia, betraying the blind man's trust for personal gain. When one is vulnerable, it is extremely easy to be taken advantage of. Martin's reality is under the complete control of Andy and his descriptions—he can say what he pleases and Martin will be none the wiser. This concept is rife with conflict and complications, though Moorhouse's script does not make full use of their potential scale, paring the story down to more basic themes of unrequited love and romantic betrayal.

Nevertheless, this remains an intelligent and occasionally funny script that has intriguing psychological and philosophical dimensions. Weaving's Martin exudes an unsettled well of emotion that is buried just beneath a surface of control. Crowe's working-class Andy has a refreshing honesty, right down to his human fallacies. Celia is bitingly bitter and vengeful through a fine performance by Genevieve Picot, though her character is revealed to be more than an angry lover. The direction is taut and engaging, thrusting us into the world of the blind through some impressive sound design and visuals. Though not as effective as Nolan's work, this Australian outing is a fine work that engages the senses and the mind.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: New Line's fine transfer shows good detail, but has a somewhat soft appearance throughout. This is by no means distracting. The image exhibits well-saturated, yet muted colors, solid contrast and a film-like appearance. Edge enhancement is not noticeable, but some fine grain and the occasional print defect make themselves known.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 audio is very front heavy. Dialogue is clear, and the quasi-'80s, percussive musical score has fine presence. However, don't expect the surrounds to be frequently engaged. A DTS track here seems like overkill, but one is included for all you audiophiles out there.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Safe Passage, Heaven's Prisoners, My Family, Mi Familia, Book of Love
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse; actor Hugo Weaving
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Photos from Martin's Album
Extras Review: The heart of the extras is comprised of two audio commentaries. The first track is by writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse, who offers comments on the origins of the project, casting, and other aspects of production. She mentions her upcoming, high profile project Eucalyptus, starring fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman. Track two features Hugo Weaving, whose memories on the film are admittedly more hazy, though he has some worthy additions, including info on his own personal acting history. There are gaps in the tracks, and both narrate the film from time to time, but there is something to learn.

In addition, there is a gallery of Martin's photographs from throughout the film, presented as a video featurette. The film's theatrical trailer and a collection of New Line trailers rounds out the special features. The menus are quite clever, as well.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Jocelyn Moorhouse's inventive film utilizes the eccentricities and vulnerabilites of a blind man to great dramatic effect. Memento fans will certainly enjoy this film's similar themes and complexities. New Line's disc is worth looking for.


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