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'Proof' Sees the Lies That Blind Trust

July 22, 1993|MARY HELEN BERG

"Proof," a simply told Australian tale of human frailty, obsessive love, loyalty and betrayal, tells the story of Martin, a blind man who does not trust what he cannot see.

Martin's bitterness goes back to his boyhood, when his mother describes the garden outside his window and tells him about the gardener who tends it. One day, although his mother insists the gardener is raking the yard, Martin realizes he can't hear the man at work. He calls his mother a liar and begins a lifetime of mistrust.

Feeling alone in the world, he gets a camera, deciding to let its lens become his eyes. Photographs, he believes, do not lie. The problem is that people do.

The humorless Martin (Hugo Weaving) compulsively shoots every inch of his world, hoping the photos will provide him with "proof" that what he senses is what is real. Martin's only companions are his dog and his housekeeper Celia (Genevieve Pico), a slightly sadistic woman who obsesses after him and moves the furniture in his apartment without telling him.

Into this drab life steps Andy (Russell Crowe), a boyish rogue whose straight talk sways Martin to trust for the first time since boyhood. After the two team up to save the life of an alley cat, Martin recruits this ne'er-do-well busboy to describe his photographs for him.

Andy tries to befriend Martin and takes him to a drive-in movie, where he describes each scene. The outing turns to adventure when hoodlums attack them and the sightless Martin ends up driving Andy's car. With that, the two forge an odd-couple friendship, but it is soon threatened by Celia's conniving.

The three richly drawn characters enter a tense triangle in this ironic and humorous story that resonates long after the closing credits.

"Proof" (1992), directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse. 90 minutes. RatedR.

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