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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Elizabeth Banks
Russell Crowe
Brian Dennehy
Liam Neeson
Jason Beghe
Lennie James.
Directors
Paul Haggis.
Screenwriters
Paul Haggis.
Running Time
135 minutes

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The Next Three Days
Crowe has 72 hours. 55 fewer than James Franco


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Plot
Out of the blue, businesswoman Lara (Banks) is arrested and convicted of murder, her teacher husband John (Crowe) the only one who believes her innocence. When appeals are exhausted, Lara becomes suicidal, and as their son is suffering, John decides to break her out.


Review
The Next Three Days
Paul Haggis’ remake of a taut French thriller (2007’s Anything For Her) is along the lines of Prison Break minus tattoos. The focus is on the transformation of its mild-mannered teacher hero (Russell Crowe) into a steely action man, propelled into planning a daring escape by his passionate devotion to a hot-tempered wife (Elizabeth Banks), who may or may not be guilty of bashing in her boss’ skull with a fire extinguisher but still looks good in an orange jumpsuit.

John (Crowe) is such an innocent he seeks out the ex-con author (Liam Neeson) of a book about prison escapes and studies lock-picking and such on YouTube. Like obsessives in all kinds of dramas, he covers a wall of his home with The Plan, with photos, notes and timetables, so we can kind of see what he’s thinking.

After a lot of sad mooching around, suddenly it’s an action movie, Crowe’s quiet academic revealing big brass ones and a dangerous scheme far more intricate than we have been led to understand. That it also hinges on some preposterous good luck evading canny coppers (Lennie James and Jason Beghe) absolutely strains credulity, although fortunately for the film, Crowe’s presence and performance can’t be faulted. The most powerful scene has no dialogue, when he goes to the jail to tell Lara her appeal has been denied. The look in his eyes not only tells her she’s going to be a granny before she gets out of there — cue sobbing and screaming behind the glass partition — but reveals the depth of his feeling for her, upon which the entire story of his resolve depends. It’s John’s parenting that worries us! That his little boy (Ty Simpkins) needs his mommy is emphasised in John’s motivation. But he risks making the child an orphan and seems prepared to abandon him if things get tricky, as, naturally, they do. While this stresses the moral ambiguities of John’s dilemma, it is, along with some undesirable consequences of his scheme, disquieting.

Haggis does make Pittsburgh look better and more interesting than one would imagine, with unprecedented access to the real Allegheny County Jail (biggest urban chokey in the world) and the city’s transit systems boosting the climactic cat-and-mouse excitements. But the transitions from romantic drama into thriller are somewhat clumsy, and the conclusion begs the question: uh, now what?


Verdict
Okay, but it lacks conviction.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo


Related Reviews
Sounds
Next Three Days, The
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Next Three Days
Empire Star Rating

The Next 3 Days

An interesting movie, i had heard that it wasnt good, too slow paced and not engaging enough. But i must say i liked the way it set itself out to be, we dont know if she really did committ the murder, tou can argue that was done too quickly i.e. been found guilty and sentenced. But you are engaged by Crowe, you see him struggling with it all, hes an actor that is great playing the everyman, the normal guy put into a situation, pity Neeson wasnt in it more. But it gets beter as the movie goes alo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by velvet at 11:41, 27 June 2011 | Report This Post


Creates Ambivalence

The Next Three Days was a commitment-test to watch – although the slick and surprising ending made up for the dissatisfaction and disengagement watching it. Another “reality-style documentary” that’s currently popular and masquerading as “new and original”. The main pain point is that the docu-film style disengages the audience. There’s a pastiche of different viewpoints and ambiguous snapshots of conversations and incidents, which makes the viewer ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by charraway at 00:15, 04 May 2011 | Report This Post


Excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 20:53, 17 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

It's not to bad as US remakes go could've done without the Hollywood over the top ad ons towards the end & have no clue as to the point of Olivia Wild's characters inclusion . A not bad 3/5, But do try & catch the original French feature All About Her. ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 15:56, 07 January 2011 | Report This Post


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