Paul Haggis writes and directs ‘The Next Three Days‘ a 2010 action-thriller produced by Lionsgate. It is a remake of the 2008 French film ‘Pour elle‘ (‘Anything for Her’), which I have not seen.
College professor John Brennan (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) are living a normal life with their young son Luke (Ty Simpkins) until the police burst into their home and arrest Laura. She is charged with killing her boss, tried, and convicted to jail. When all of her appeals fail, their families thinking she is guilty, and even their lawyer turning against her, John gets desperate. He meets with career criminal Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), a man who successfully escaped from eight prisons who gives him advice on how to break Lara out. John then begins to make plans on breaking her out of prison where he faces frayed nerves, emotional turmoil, and deception as he works to break out the woman who he believes is innocent.
Paul Haggis does an excellent job of presenting this movie in an understated way. As you watch John’s desperate attempt to save his wife, you can see subtle images that all come together at the climax. It was an impressive feat and I applaud Haggis for balancing that with producing a thrilling tale. Sure, it had a few flaws here and there, but it was still a thrilling movie.
As for the plot itself, it does keep you on the edge of your seat. You genuinely feel the desperation of John as he searches for a way to save his wife while also managing missteps. He is cautious, but not a criminal, so you connect with his actions and feel the pain that he is going through. From beginning to end, you are hooked constantly guessing what will happen next.
That is a credit to the actors as well. It does not have a big cast, so it relied heavily on the performance of its actors. Elizabeth Banks does a good job as the wife and mother who is caught in an impossible situation. Liam Neeson’s cameo is, of course, stellar. I would be remiss, however, if I did not bring up Crowe’s incredible performance. He truly put his best foot forward and totally delivers. You feel all of his raw emotions, frustrations, and his determination in saving his character’s wife.
Bottom line, The Next Three Days is an edge-of-your-seat thriller with plenty of twists and dynamite performances, particularly from Russell Crowe, to keep you interested.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: But before you do anything, you have to ask yourself if you can do it. Can you forget about ever seeing your parents again? Can you kill a guard? Leave your kid at a gas station? Push some nice old lady to the ground just because she gets between you and the door? Because to do this thing, that’s who you have to become. And if you can’t, don’t start, ’cause you’ll just get someone killed.
Check out the trailer below:
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