The Next Three Days (2010)

Lara Brennan is worried that, following a row with her boss, she might not have a job in the mornng. Her problems, however, get exponentially worse when her boss is found murdered and Lara blamed for the crime. Left to raise their child by himself, her college professor husband soon realises that, due to overwhelming evidence, she is not getting out again any time soon. Determined to break her out before she is transferred to a higher security prison, John Brennan buys three minutes of Liam Neeson’s time and visits YouTube for ideas. Dropping his son off with a fellow parent (Olivia Wilde), he exploits his wife’s diabetes and sets about breaking her out of hospital.

A remake of French movie Pour Elle (Anything for Her), The Next Three Days adds little to the story as it previously stood. With direction from Paul Haggis, this is at least a competent rehash of what came before – with a few good action beats ensuring that the trailer is just short of deceptive. When The Next Three Days isn’t trying to be Die Hard, it is elevated as a result of solid performances from a sympathetic Russell Crowe and a likeable Elizabeth Banks.

What renders The Next Three Days so average, however, are the fleeting moments of greatness. As Lara grows more and more despondent and her situation looks increasingly hopeless, her unexpected admission of guilt to her husband comes as a genuine shock. As Banks storms off without further explanation, the film truly engages as the filmmakers appear to ask their audience to will two murderers to freedom. After all, by the time John arrives at the hospital to spring his wife, he himself has committed murder. However, as this moral ambiguity – and the distinct possibility of having to abandon their child at a zoo birthday party – are disappointingly put to rest – The Next Three Days renders itself distractingly predictable.

Ultimately a thriller (when it gets around to it), however, The Next Three Days successfully holds your attention for its duration. However, while the writer might have an easy ride in store, the film’s greatest strength – and its biggest weakness – is its simplicity. John Brennan is just a teacher, a teacher who successfully breaks his wife from custody and escorts her into another country. As he struggles to acquire fake passports and starts leaking money left, right and centre, it really sells the stakes faced by all involved. While his desperate plan gives proceedings a touch of realism, it undermines the believability of the film’s final act. His preparation? A brief encounter with an ex-convict. His plan? To exit via the front door. As the characters miraculously evade capture, it often proves a suspension of disbelief too far.

A solid movie with some respectable performances, The Next Three Days has more potential than it does creative ambition. Quite happy to trace over someone else’s lines, Haggis crafts a movie that may be worth your time but definitely isn’t worth your money.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to The Next Three Days (2010)

  1. Pingback: Conviction (2010) « popcornaddict

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