Plot: What’s it about?
Martin (Hugo Weaving) is a blind man who has a fierce independent streak, as he is not defined by his ailment. No, Martin is defined by his distrust and suspicion of everyone he encounters, no matter how genuine they might seem. This lack of trust stems from his childhood, when his mother would describe the garden behind their home. She told him once that a man was raking leaves in the garden, but he couldn’t hear any of the expected sounds. As such, he assumed she had lied to him and he snapped a photo of the garden as proof. That trend continued throughout his life, as he would take countless photos, then ask others to tell him what the pictures contained, in order to find out if he was told the truth. Even if he believes the person in the photo, he still holds some distrust and thinks that at some point, he will be mislead. As a result, he has no real friends and his sole companion is Celia (Genevieve Picot), his housekeeper. She is interested in Martin and his unusual habits, but as always, he distrusts her. Perhaps with good reason, as she moves the furniture and tries to fool him as much as possible. When Martin makes a new friend named Andy (Russel Crowe), Celia is quite jealous and is soon determined to take him out of the picture. Can Martin overcome his distrustful nature, or will he be doomed to a life of solitude?
I’d seen this film before, so I knew it was good, but I wondered how a second session would impact my opinion. After all, a lot of movies are good the first time, but don’t hold up to repeat viewing sessions. Proof wasn’t as good the second time around, but the film is still impressive and should be better known than it is. The premise is excellent, as a blind man uses photos to monitor those around him, even if the story does lag at times. Even so, the concept is at least fresh and with so much recycled stuff out there, any sense of originality is most welcome. Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, The Interview) is excellent in the lead and carries the film well, though he is a tad one note in some scenes, which could have used more of a boost. But he does well and blind roles never seem to come off as natural, though Weaving is better than most. He is joined by Genevieve Picot (Muriel’s Wedding, Bread & Roses) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator, Romper Stomper), both of whom are more than solid. I’d like to see Crowe return to roles like this, as opposed to all the mediocre ones he has taken in recent times. Proof is all talk however and the pace moves slow in some stretches, so you have to keep your attention span sharp. I recommend Proof without hesitation as a rental, to those who want more than explosions in their films.
Video: How does it look?
Proof is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a fantastic looking transfer by all means, but a few small problems keep it from gaining the perfect score. This film uses some intense color schemes, especially in the club scenes, but minimal bleeds and smears are present. In such overly rich hues like these however, that is expected to some extent and the flaws are never extreme. No issues with the contrast at all, as black levels look dead on and no detail loss is evident. I did see some slight flaws with the source print, but no compression errors are present in the least. Yeah, some small issues here and there, but this is still a superior transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
I wasn’t expecting much given the nature of this film, but I was taken back by the richness of this track, very impressive indeed. The audio option are a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track or a DTS surround track and it might not shake the walls, but they handles this material to sheer perfection. The surrounds are used all the time, both for subtle atmosphere touches and in some scenes, more powerful cues that reel in the impact of the moment. The different elements are balanced to excellent ends also, which means you never have to fiddle with the volume button as you watch. I have no real complaints with either track and while I don’t think it deserves the full score, I think New Line should be commended. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish, just in case.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary with director Jocelyn Moorehouse is passable, but actor Hugo Weaving provides a more engaging track, even by himself. I am pleased to see New Line offer multiple audio commentary tracks, however. This disc also includes a collection of the photos seen in the film, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.