The Next Three Days

A married couple’s life is turned upside down when the wife is accused of a murder.

Writers: Paul Haggis, Fred Cavayé
Director: Paul Haggis
Stars:  Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson
Runtime: 133 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Medium Popcorn with Butter

Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks star in The Next Three Days, A Prison Break Thriller that delivers about as much as expected.  I really like Crowe and Banks, and the Writer/ Director Paul Haggis who has been a part of great movies like Crash and Million Dollar Baby. I did very much enjoy this movie as well, watching it on a whim on my couch one Sunday night, but I feel that it had so much promise that it could have been just a tier better.

The story revolves around John and Lara Brennan an understated English Teacher and outspoken/aggressive business woman with a young boy living in Pittsburg.  After only the first scene, where we see Lara Brennan complaining at a restaurant table about her boss, the police are busting through the front door the next morning arresting her for the murder of that very same boss.  I have to admit I was caught by movie from the beginning.

As Lara is locked behind bars time goes on as John tries every diplomatic way of fighting the system to free his wife of a crime he is sure she didn’t commit.  He visits continually along with their son showing tough moments of a family torn apart by the separation.  After all hope is gone, he decides he is going to “Lose who [he is] to save what [he loves].  He starts building an elaborate plan to break his wife out of Jail.

The next part of the movie is essentially an hour long montage of him figuring out his strategies, and planning out his plan.  I mean that is a nice way, there is no cheesy montage song and everything is actually done quite well, and I would assume accurate…it all seemed to make sense to me although I have never broken out, or broke someone out from prison!  Throughout the film there are black in white flashbacks to the night of the murder.  They give ambiguous images of how the murder was committed and who it could have been.  We know early on that Lara Brennan was in at the scene of the crime the night it happened, and there was blood on her coat.  I followed suit and wondered if it were possible that she committed the murder, in which case I asked myself “do I want him to break her out of prison?”  This helped keep the movie moving as well!

There are parts in the movie that become a little unbelievable.  Although I believe that this character has mostly adopted the new way of life needed to commit all of these crimes and break the law the way he will need to, there are times when I remember the soft spoken community school teacher that I saw only an hour ago and think that this would all be way over his head.  The film doesn’t make it look like he is an old pro, it shows his difficulties along the way, but I still think it is worth mentioning.

After the plan is complete, the money is in place, it is time.   The final part of the movie is very well done, keeping you on the edge of your seat the whole final leg, never knowing what is going to happen next.  At one point, I realized I was pacing around all alone in my room as the suspension built.  (I felt pretty lame…I think I was anxious that night to begin with!) It is entertaining, suspenseful, and a true thriller, I really did enjoy it and think that it is a very worthwhile watch.  It didn’t blow me away, but not all movies need to or intend to.  Coming from such and acclaimed filmmaker and cast, it seems to leave you wanting more, but if you take that away, which I think is OK to do, it is a classic edge of your seat, suspense thriller and I recommend it.

Medium Popcorn with Butter.


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