Based on the late William Prochnau’s Vanity Fair exposé about the Kidnap and Random (K&R) industry, Proof of Life is a love story / adventure starring Russell Crowe and David Caruso (as the rescue jocks) opposite Meg Ryan and David Morse (the expats whose marriage will be tested in this adventure).
David Morse plays Peter Bowman, an engineer kidnapped in the Andes by a guerrilla band that has been navigating the slippery slope from Marxist revolutionary army to narco-guerrilla banditry, and Russell Crowe plays the K&R specialist his wife turns to for help, to bring him back. This poem, based on the 38th Psalm, is in Peter’s voice, pleading with one of the younger guerrillas among his captors for some kind of help in attempting his escape.
Child, you are too quick to heap me with mistrust
and blame me for your loneliness in anger.
Easy enough for you to lash out – but look,
I am at your mercy, exhausted, in chains.
My feet are in tatters, my shoes are loose rags,
you would leave me to starve and freeze in the damp.
My only offense was to offer to share
a hope that is too heavy to bear alone.
My sores are festering because I begged you
to abandon this rough life and set me free.
My hopes seem twisted in your eyes, too selfish.
But this is no way for you to live – you’re sad.
What they are doing to you turns my stomach,
it is they who are using you to hurt me.
I admit, I am growing numb. I feel crushed.
When I roar, you hear my heart tear, convulsing.
Poor child, you could grant all that I would die for,
and you are not deaf and blind to my sorrows.
My heart has turned on me, my strength forsakes me,
the light of my eyes, my wife, is far from me.
Here friendship is useless – you write off my plight
and my family could not be farther from me.
These people lay snares and torment me daily.
You’ve seen how they lie, how they disrespect you.
But I tune all this out, alone in my thoughts;
if I didn’t, I would never hold my tongue.
In acting as though this is nothing to me
I survive, with no rebuke ready to go.
For in my wife’s patience I trust to have hope.
She will find a way to see me through this hell.
Often I straightened in agony, lest they
jeer at me when my foot slipped in the mountains.
I know how my weakness amuses these men,
and my constant pain is plain for all to see.
I tell you, I did not betray this country,
you heap on me another man’s offenses.
I came to offer help, and out of nowhere,
this unprovoked attack brought me to my knees.
Now those who only pay back good with evil
penalize me for pursuing good – you see?
But here I am forsaken by your people.
I struggle to hold my wife’s picture to heart.
May she find a way to get me out of here;
her love sustains all that remains of my hopes.