Synopsis: When a man’s wife is sent to prison for murder he must plan her escape.
Release Date: November 19, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Drama
John Brennan (Russell Crowe) is an average man. He works as a professor at a community college and has an all too common life in Pittsburgh, PA. His life takes a drastic turn when his wife is convicted of murdering her boss and he is left to take care of their young son and continue the fight to secure her freedom as he believes, without any doubt, that she is innocent. This is the backdrop of The Next Three Days and it is a gripping thriller from start to finish.
The film is about John’s plan to break his wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison after her final appeal is denied. But it does not begin there. Instead it takes us three years back in time to where it all began, then three months prior, and finally to the last three days he has to set her free before she is transferred to a maximum security prison far away from the city. Paul has been doing his research up until this point and we learn along with him just how difficult such a task can be and how with everything that goes right a multitude of other things can go wrong. The cookie-cutter approach to prison escapes does not exist in this movie. It is full of sacrifice, tough choices, and the foregoing of morals or beliefs in order to take action; while shying away from the excitement of pulling off such a deed to instead deal with the more emotional toll it can take on a person. John is a troubled and conflicted man and Russell Crowe is at his finest in balancing his role as concerned father, loving husband, and future fugitive. He carries the entire movie and does it flawlessly.
When the escape does finally happen you may as well warn your lungs they will not be taking deep breaths anytime soon. You are holding your breath as John and Lara race through the streets, diverting the police, and finding themselves having to make the ultimate, most dramatic, and devastating choice for their family. All you can do in The Next Three Days is sit back and prepare to have an intelligent, deeply affecting, quietly thrilling two hours of your life.
Paul Haggis knows exactly what he is doing. From the first scenes until the final frame falls The Next Three Days never falls below expectations or takes a turn for the overly predictable. As an action movie that is not an “action” movie the film has a slow pace on screen, but a frenetic one inside your head. Haggis has woven all of the pieces together so perfectly that you forget to breathe, to drink your soda or nibble your popcorn, and most importantly, to check your watch. Each and every moment of the film is important, every second matters, and every decision Haggis makes to keep you moving on this journey is timed perfectly. He has expertly woven a suspense thriller alongside a mystery as he never reveals each part of the plan until the moment arrives. It keeps you guessing as to how John will escape with his wife and son in the small window of time allotted given security measures. The screenplay may have some elements of commonality to others of this genre but it is without fault as they make complete sense in the grand scope of the story. This film is an impressive display of directing, as well as screenwriting (Haggis also wrote the script) to be able to literally have the viewer forget everything else and only focus on what is happening on screen; and pray to the movie gods that everything will turn out for the best in the end, even as Haggis throws you one twist after another or tidbit of information that makes you doubt any of this should even be happening.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Paul HaggisMarc MissonnierMichael Nozik
- Producer(s): Paul Haggis
- Screenwriter(s): Russell Crowe (John Brennan)Elizabeth Banks (Lara Brennan)Michael Buie (Mick Brennan)
- Story: Liam Neeson (Damon Pennington)
- Cast: Jo FrancisStephane FontaineLaurence Bennett
- Cinematographer: Danny Elfman
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