Saturday 2 June 2007

P(r)oof!


I watched this movie called Proof (2005 release) today with some friends. I can't believe IMDB rates this movie at 7 on 10 (though this is a user rating mechanism I believe)! This is a perfect example of a movie that promises at first, only to deceive, unfortunately.

The story is about this math genius (played with effortless brilliance by Anthony Hopkins) who, in the last five years, has been mentally disturbed, and is recently deceased. In his last years he is cared for by his daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow in another very good performance) who chooses to live with him at their home in Chicago. She has to now face the possibility that she might have inherited his streak of insanity. A research student (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives to search through the papers written up by the professor during these last years. Also entering the scene is the elder daughter (Hope Davis) who arrives from New York to settle matters after her father's death.

The production quality of this movie is excellent - the cinematography is sensitive to the fact that this is a human drama, with a few key characters, and the camera often moves through some great portrait settings and view points. The storytelling technique is very crisp and tight, moving in and out of flashbacks. The technique in the script is also good - the build-ups and punchlines that characterize a story told interestingly.

However there are enough of the weak points, in many crucial scenes, that make the movie slip badly. Just when a scene achieves a dramatic buildup, comes a corny cheesy line from a Mills & Boon novella to spoil the moment entirely. And if this movie is about the math, well, where's the math? The audience ought to have been given SOMETHING to test their intelligence - who can forget the 'blonde entering the bar with her friends' sequence in 'A Beautiful Mind' that then fires off the sequence of thoughts in the mind of John Nash, eventually leading to game theory?

Another place the movie loses out on is the (mis)casting of Jake Gyllenhaal - the other three key players in this drama come up with stellar performances (despite the weak moments in the script), but Jake ends up trying a bit too hard and cannot pull off the 'cool geek' persona.

This movie held my attention for the first twenty minutes or so, with some very clever production and storytelling, but if the attempt is to create a gripping drama, then EVERY line of dialogue counts! A few loose moments here and there can make the audience's interest go poof!


Recommendation: Watchable - but keep your expectations in check.

1 comment:

Grandebelf said...

no way watchable! painable this is! please to not watch!