Film & TV

Film Review: The Next Three Days

Rating: M

Running Time: 122 minutes

Release Date: 3 February 2011

In this thriller Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) is incarcerated for murdering her boss on the circumstantial evidence of witnesses seeing her leave the crime scene, her fingerprints were on the murder weapon, the deceased’s blood was on her coat and she had motive.  Lara’s husband John (Russell Crowe) tries in vain to prove her innocence after appeals to the highest court fail.  Running out of options and fearful for his wife’s health after her suicide attempt and the strain of being separated from their son Luke (Ty Simpkins), John decides to take desperate measures in his fight for her freedom.

The Next Three Days is directed by Paul Haggis who also penned the screenplay based on a 2008 French film Pour Elle (Anything for Her).  Haggis previous scripts have been Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Letters from Iowa Jima and the standard of writing is no less.  Great care is taken to ensure unpredictable twists and turns in the plot, making it difficult for the seasoned movie goer to predict the next move coupled with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure.  However it’s not all smooth sailing with some implausible events, and the transformation from mild mannered teacher to gun blazing vigilante unbelievable.  Crowe’s character also accelerates from dumb and naïve to clever and quick thinking in five seconds flat and back again.  These inconsistencies in characterisation and story become irritating but Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) does a good job of trying to cover them up and the various twists don’t give you a chance to dwell too long on them.

Banks (Zac and Miri Make a Porno) puts in a good performance but the story really centres on Crowe who does a good job of a character which needs fuller development. There are several interesting cameos Liam Neeson  (Taken) as Damon Pennington master jailbreaker and Brian Dennehey as John’s emotionally bankrupt father.

3/5 stars  Better than average thriller but flawed

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