Proof

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Proof
Review (7/10)
(By Liam Cullin)


Proof stars Gwyneth Paltrow as the daughter of a brilliant mathematician (Sir Anthony Hopkins) who is struggling to come to terms with his recent death. She's also struggling with the insanity that eventually lead to his death and her own similar tendencies. If that isn't enough, she also has to deal with one of her father's former students (Jake Gyllenhaal) who'd like to go through her father's work to see what's there and her older sibling (Hope Davis) who is coming into town for the funeral with aspirations of taking her "mentally deranged" sister away and shuttling her off to a mental institution. In the midst of all this, the sisters and Jake discover a breakthrough mathematical "proof" in the depths of their father's gibberish. Where did it come from?

Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare In Love), Proof is based on the play of the same name that also starred Gwyneth Paltrow, and it shows. The movie looks remarkably like a play. There are only a few sets, with most scenes involving only 2 or 3 main characters. The camera moves back and forth between the characters as they deliver their lines much like something you'd expect in a live stage performance. This isn't to say that the movie is bad, it just seems a little uninspired. I imagine if I were to ever witness the play firsthand, it would look incredibly like the movie - only with less elaborate set designs.

The story here was what made the movie stand out. Although the opening scene was thoroughly predictable, as the movie went on, I found myself surprised by the twists and turns on a couple of occassions. There were also a few genuine laughs for a movie with such a serious tone. Also, to make a movie about advance mathematics and prime numbers at all riveting takes some work and they did it here. (Sure, I fell asleep in the dying minutes of the movie, but I was damned tired and I already knew how it was going to end.)

Although this movie has teenage heart-throb Jake Gyllenhaal to draw in the younger crowds, it really is a thinking-man's (or thinking woman's) movie and it's unfortunate that it won't make millions and millions of dollars. It's quality cinema, but it just isn't that kind of movie. And if you need proof, just do the math at the box office after it's released.

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