Director: Paul Haggis
Cast: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Jonathan Tucker, Liam Neeson, Ty Simpkins, RZA, Brian Dennehy, Moran Atias, Lennie James, Allan Steele, Daniel Stern, Jason Beghe, Aisha Hinds
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Official Website: http://www.thenextthreedaysmovie.com/index.html
Opening Day: 25 November 2010
Life seems perfect for John Brennan until his wife, Lara, is arrested for a gruesome murder she says she didn't commit. Three years into her sentence, John is struggling to hold his family together, raising their son and teaching at college while he pursues every means available to prove her innocence. With the rejection of their final appeal, Lara becomes suicidal and John decides there is only one possible, bearable solution: to break his wife out of prison. Refusing to be deterred by impossible odds or his own inexperience, John devises an elaborate escape plot and plunges into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, ultimately risking everything for the woman he loves.
Movies: there are those that simply beg to have the conclusion predicted early and there are those that deny you of any clue of how that would be. And one can safely say that, ‘The Next Three Days’ is part of the latter. A remake of 2008 French movie starring Diane Kruger, ‘Pour Elle’, the movie would be enjoyed best without watching its predecessor. Oh, and if you do not have a grudge against Hollywood for its habit of re-interpreting past movies, that would help too, because, as seen from dialogue to set-up of scenes, this version is really loyal to the European one.
What makes the movie is simply its storyline, which surrounds the idea of a jailbreak. And, in the case of most jailbreaks, from Scofield to Alcatraz to Mas Selamat, free men and women like us are always left intrigued with how the unimaginable is done. And, also, most importantly, what happens after that. Because escaping may be hard, but staying free is even harder.
And when the one that is doing the jail breaking is a homely bespectacled schoolteacher by the name of John Brennan, the whole thing seems pretty much impossible. But then again, Russell Crowe plays him, and if the man can toss telephones onto hotel managers, he sure can toss his onscreen wife Lara, who has been found guilty of murder, out from prison.
This takes a while though as Brennan has to first orientate himself, with the advice of a former prison escapee played by a New York-accented Liam Neeson who appears quite briefly in the movie, to a life of law breaking in order to prepare himself for his wife’s rescue. From watching how-to internet videos on car breaking to searching for fake identification in seedy bars to buying guns, Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) makes it clear to us that this guy is really a rookie in the world of crime. Crowe being Crowe, is quite the actor as we cannot help but feel for his character as he transforms from clumsy crook to a man desperate to free the love of his life from the long arm of the law.
The unfortunate thing is that even though it drives the whole story, the love between the husband and wife is not all that convincing, as it has to make do with the limited time it has amongst all the action. Having all the A-list names attached to the plot-centered movie may make it attractive but one can easily imagine it still being enjoyable with any other decent cast.
Though necessary for realism, it can also get a bit draggy while we wait through all of Brennan’s preparation for the actual jailbreak. This can of course be easily forgiven once the escape is set in motion because when that happens, the audience would definitely not want to miss watching how the couple attempt to shake off the authorities hot on their tail. Do they eventually evade being captured? There’s only one way to find that out – go watch the movie all the way till the end.
(Smart, and unpredictable – if you have not watched the original French version of course)
Reviewed by Siti Nursyafiqa