Proof [1991]

Proof, a brilliant allegory about trust, is at once mordantly funny, chilling, and touching. It keeps us off balance from the beginning, challenging our assumptions about everything from the art of filmmaking to the nature of human relationships. The tone is reminiscent of David Mamet and Harold Pinter, but Australian writer-director Jocelyn Moorhouse has a quirky outlook all her own. Hugo Weaving (later known as the villainous Agent Smith in The Matrix), plays Martin, a blind photographer who compulsively shoots photos as proof of the actuality of his existence. He relies on his spiteful housekeeper, Celia (Geneviève Picot), to tell him what's in his snapshots. But can he trust her to tell him the truth? Celia rearranges the furniture so Martin will trip over it. Why? Because she's in love with him. But Martin won't let her into his heart; he's never been able to trust anyone. Into this quagmire of mutual torment walks Andrew, a regular guy personified, to become the first real friend Martin has ever had. At this point the picture jumps up a notch, for Andrew is played by hunky, appealing young Russell Crowe, whose emotional range and star quality are already unmistakable. Just when we think that Proof has devolved into yet another feel-good buddy picture, the ground shifts again beneath our feet. There are no easy answers in this movie; that's the pleasure in it. --Laura Mirsky

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