ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Proof of Life (2000), (R)
CAP Score: 31
CAP Influence Density: 2.49

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie

"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


PROOF OF LIFE (R) -- though the programming presents no sexual properties other than assumptions, it is still...

Proof of Life is a term used by a special anti-terrorist group. It is a requirement in bartering for the return of a hostage. The good guys need proof the hostage is still alive -- proof of life -- before they will conduct an exchange of the ransom for the hostage.

After an all too short period of R&R following a brutal assignment in Chechnya, expert negotiator for Luthran Risk International, a kidnap and rescue agency, Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe - Gladiator) is re-assigned to Tecala, South America. His new assignment is to secure the release of kidnapped U. S. engineer, Peter Burman (David Morse - The Green Mile). Burman has been kidnapped by drug world terrorists of the ELT (the liberation army of Tecala). Burman has been building a dam financed by a rich oil company. Though Burman is not an oil company employee, the ELT thinks he is and anticipates a large ransom from the oil company. Alas, the company Burman works for canceled all ransom insurance for overseas employees.

Through a series of flashbacks and other connective programming, the viewer is introduced to the Burmans, Thorne and Luthran Risk International plus background information about the ELT. The Burmans have experienced an inordinate amount of trouble in their pick-ip-and-go lifestyle of a traveling engineer, including the death of an infant daughter we never see. Extensive programming is spent on marital argumentation, finger pointing and blame-laying. After some creative and acrobat footage of the kidnapping, Thorne approaches Alice with assurances of getting her husband back through his K&R (kidnap and rescue) expertise.

Thorne initiates his investigations and negotiations by familiarizing himself with Burman through Mrs. Burman, Alice (Meg Ryan - Courage Under Fire) and his sister, Janice (Pamela Reed - Kindergarten Cop). Arriving in Tecala Thorne interrogates Alice and Janice in the home of the Burmans and establishes a base of operations. As if to say it is expected and normal, Thorne and Alice begin an ever deepening relationship Peter would find offensive. Though the programming presents no sexual properties other than assumptions, it is still adulterous of the two [Deut. 5:18]: she directly and he causing it by reciprocating [Prov. 6:32, Matt. 5:28]. And, of course, "justification" for the adulterous relationship was established in the initial portion of the film with marital arguments and strife supposedly caused by Peter's work.

Much of the film presented the many forms of brutality the captors exercised over Burman for months [Isa. 13:11]. A second captive, a member of the French Foreign Legion, who had been in captivity for 19 months added to the interest and expansion of the presentation by pretending to be a mentally unstable Bible-thumper. The way he pretended added some diverse moments leading the viewer to hope and expect the man was plotting and planning all the while, waiting for that one moment when escape was viable.

Some most majestic scenery of a mountainous range added some perspective to the degree of isolation needed for illegal drug empire operations [Hab. 2:12]. It also added to the torment of the injured Burman. The terrorists kept moving their location and the hostages to deceive and trick the authorities [Acts 13:10]. Some quite unnerving imagery portraying brutal treatment of the captives by evil people was amplified by the spartan living conditions necessitated by the constant mobility of illegal operations in a mountainous environment.

Both Crowe and Ryan are somewhat bland in this combination of romance and action. Reed seems to be the most animated and expressive of the quintessential trio, using much the same style she used in Kindergarten Cop. Crowe is nearly unemotional and without expression in comparison to his strength in Gladiator. Ryan is undercast, clearly capable of much more than she was given in Proof of Life. Though the writers obviously expected an adulterous romance [Prov. 30:20] between Crowe and Ryan to jump out at the audience, the chemistry was just not there. The "warfare" footage during the extrication of the hostages, which exploded in the last third of so of the movie, was the high of it albeit a violent and invasive high.

Among the additional ignominy was much foul language, use of women as toys, vulgar talk and expressions [Eph. 5:4], and of course illegal drug presence and usage. The display of carnage and dogs eating the flesh of dead bodies seemed most gratuitous as were many other examples of unfit programming. Regrading sexual content, Proof of Life was about equivalent to a TV soap opera: some porn pictures flashed on the screen, gamming, and [non-sexual] adultery. The main presence in this movie was many, many issues and portrayals of extreme violence with zillions of uses of firearms to threaten, control and kill. Many more findings of moral interest are provided in the Findings/Scoring section.


  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Deut. 5:18 "You shall not commit adultery.
  • Prov. 6:32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
  • Matt. 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • Isa. 13:11 "I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless."
  • Hab. 2:12 "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!"
  • Acts 13:10 "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?"
  • Prov. 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman [OR man]; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place,...


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Proof of Life (2000) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • illegal gains
  • firearms
  • dogs feeding on dead bodies
  • firearms to torture, control and threaten
  • physical and mental brutality
  • gunfire attempts to murder and control
  • injuries with blood
  • terrorist kidnappings
  • terrorizing of a captive
  • extortion
  • long-term hostage situation
  • gunfire injuries
  • other graphic injuries, including impalement
  • carnage
  • multiple graphic gunfire deaths
  • long military style battle with terrorists

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 35 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • 61 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • husband/wife argumentation
  • reckless driving
  • reckless gunfire to show off
  • vulgar and other offensive mannerisms
  • vulgar talk
  • non-sexual adultery

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • porn pictures
  • gamming
  • women for toys
  • sexual talk
  • vulgar gesture
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • booze
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • smoking drugs
  • drug stupor madness with firearm threats
  • drug trafficking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • six uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 13 without
  • "Things don't happen for a reason. They just happen."

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • graphic gunfire murder
  • murder by throat cut
  • murder by back stab

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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