A very dark, adult comedy-drama with an eccentric perspec tive and some insightful views, "Proof" tells the story of Martin, a blind man whose hobby is photography.
A blind photographer? That may seem contradictory, but in Australian filmmaker Jocelyn Moorhouse's new film, it's as logical as anything else in life.
An intriguing character study, "Proof" offers up people who are flawed, have difficulty expressing themselves and don't always make the right choices. In that regard, the audience may find it somewhat tough to warm up to these folks initially, but by the end of the film their motivations are more clear and their flaws more understandable.
So, being blind from birth, how does Martin know what images he has captured in his photographs? He must rely on the testimony of others, of course. But his ability to trust his friends and acquaintances is hampered by a childhood born of mistrust. Throughout the film we see flashbacks, which imply that his mother, who was apparently embarrassed by her son's handicap, may not have truthfully described things to him. ("Why would I lie to you?" his mother asks. "Because you can," says the young Martin.)
Martin is an embittered man, dour and surly, intent on doing things for himself and not readily accepting of the kindness of others. He is also nasty to his housekeeper, Celia, who returns the favor by torturing Martin in small ways, such as placing objects in front of his door as she leaves for the day and winning away the affections of his seeing-eye dog.
So it means a lot to Martin when he finally makes a friend. This occurs when Martin has dinner at a local restaurant and lets a waitress know she's ignoring him by pouring his own wine — all over the table. Andy, a dishwasher there, takes notice and later strikes up a conversation. Martin gives him a little test by having him describe some of his photographs. Soon, a mutual trust develops. (The film's funniest sequence has them going to a drive-in movie, where Andy describes the film's action to Martin, and the evening eventually goes hysterically awry.)
But things get bumpy when Celia becomes jealous and plots to break up the friendship. It seems her bitterness is born of Martin's rejection.
"Proof" is a complex relationship film, with perceptive views on faith and with trust, played out in equal parts of irreverent comedy and touching poignancy.
Though the film focuses primarily on Martin, played perfectly by Hugo Weaving, there is also excellent support from Russell Crowe as Andy and Genevieve Picot as Celia.
This unique film marks the debut of writer-director Jocelyn Moorhouse, who couldn't seem more at home in the medium. Moorhouse has heretofore done TV and written a book, but it would seem that movies are her future.
"Proof" is very much an adult film, however, rated R for sex and nudity, as well as violence, profanity and vulgarity.