Sunday, 30 January 2011

Film Review: PROOF (2005)

Director: John Madden
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK release date 24th February 2006

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 30th January 2011.


This is one of those films that I’ve seen before and remember the beginning, but can never remember the ending. Maybe it’s because I never got to the end before, but this time I did. This appealed to me because I studied mathematics (amongst other things) at university and thought it might strike a chord. It did, but not in the way I was expecting… But more of that later, here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts (summary haters please solve a couple of differential equations while I write the next paragraph).

Catherine’s father, Robert, has recently died, he was a great mathematician in his day but insanity had plagued his latter years. She had looked after him for the last five years of his life at their home in Chicago and is now coming to terms with his loss. A former student of his, Harold Dobbs (Hal), is looking through his notebooks hoping to find something of note. As the funeral approaches, Catherine’s sister, Claire, arrives from New York. She is a successful businesswoman and takes her slightly mentally unstable sister in hand. After the funeral a wake is held back at the house and Catherine gets together with Hal. The following day she gives him the key to her father’s desk where he finds just what he’s been looking for, a brilliant mathematical proof. The trouble is, Catherine claims she wrote it… there is a lot of doubt though. Has Catherine inherited her father’s genius, amongst other things, or did he write it in one of his more lucid periods? Well I guess I’d be giving too much away if I told you here.

First off, really great performances from both Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine and Hope Davis as Claire. Jake Gyllenhaal was adequate as Hal and Anthony Hopkins was as good as ever in the flashbacks of Robert. Now, to the film, it is based on a play by David Auburn, who also co-wrote the screenplay, and I find films based on plays sometimes suffer; they can become a little claustrophobic. This, unfortunately is a case in point. Although an effort is made to broaden the scope of the story by taking parts of it outside, it’s still very much a character driven piece which I’m afraid I found a little dry.

The plot I found a little weak, it all boiled down to a small thing that could so easily have been resolved (I’m sorry I don’t want to say what it is… spoilers). I feel that too much time was taken to set up the characters and the back story and this didn’t quite work on film. So, over all, some great performances in what is essentially a play transferred to the big screen. Although the plot is weak in places and it is pretty slow, I still recommend it (just).

My score: 6.7/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:
Trailer (not great quality I’m afraid):

No comments: