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Dam engineer gets the Hollywood treatment

CIVIL ENGINEERING hits the silver screen tomorrow with the release of Proof of Life - starring Gladiator leading man Russell Crowe.

The film focuses on the kidnap of civil engineer Peter Bowman by South American rebels as he works on a dam project in the Andes.

Crowe plays rugged hostage negotiator Terry Thorne who tries to help Bowman's wife Alice (Meg Ryan) get him released.

The kidnappers' $3M demand for Bowman's release is met with incredulity by Thorne: 'That's a ridiculous sum. Peter's not a businessman, he's an engineer, ' he gasps. Thorne then suggests $600,000 as a more 'suitable' figure.

Meanwhile, hostage Bowman, played by David Morse, reveals true engineering guile by stealing the kidnappers' map of the area and copying it on to a bible which eventually makes its way to Thorne.

The map helps Thorne find Bowman while the kidnappers have conveniently run off to defend their cocaine plantation from the army.

The film includes a few cliches and loses momentum during the hostage negotiations, but is generally entertaining with good performances.

Particularly interesting is Bowman's sister's disbelief when she hears of the true dangers of working in South America. 'Did you know all that when you moved here?' she asks.

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