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Dinah’s Rating: 4/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.1/10
(3 ratings total)
The last three years, the last three months, and the last three days are presented in regularly identified acts of Russell Crowe’s latest thriller The Next Three Days. It’s your typical action thriller with a central character on the run who must beat the odds to escape. In this case it is John Brennan (Russell Crowe) who decides after three years of fighting through the court system to help his wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) beat a murder conviction to spring her from prison. The thriller packs a punch but is inevitably both generic and preposterous. Albeit entertaining, The Next Three Days is ultimately forgettable.
The narrative is slightly awkward, presenting the supposed murder scene in a flashback near the opening and again in a throwaway scene later on. This is perhaps meant to send up a red herring, a distraction to make everyone vehemently deny the characters’ guilt. It was unnecessary; it’s an assumption any avid moviegoer would have given that bucking the predictable storyline is reserved for indie films.
Banks and Crowe offer strong performances, with Crowe giving an effortless and spot-on performance as a man on a desperate mission to regain his family. This is not Taken. John Brennan is a community college professor and a bit pudgy around the middle. His first attempt to get fake passports for he and his wife’s getaway results in a few unsightly bruises about the face, chest, and stomach. He asks a gun store owner where the bullets go in his new purchase and is later mocked by a meth dealer for his weak aim.
But these are the very aspects that make the central character endearing, and he does not break from beginning to end. The same cannot be said for Banks’ character, Lara, however. She is unfortunately playing a poorly written character. She portrays an animalistic desire for her husband which in a few scenes later is turned to reviling. She is also not entirely with the program of getting away, which seemed odd.
Liam Neeson only disappoints due to his limited screen time. He is in the movie for about two minutes, though heavily represented in the preview. In fact, his entire scene is almost entirely revealed in the trailer so don’t go in thinking this will involve kicking some butt alongside Crowe. I’m not a fan of deceptive marketing, so I willfully expose this con. But even that isn’t the downfall of The Next Three Days.
Intensity and mystery are key ingredients to a strong thriller. This genre is expected to be exhilarating. Somehow, even with a countdown, unforeseen obstacles and triumphant comebacks, Crowe couldn’t get this movie to a heart-pounding pace. It just trudges along with expected twists and turns. Side characters arrive for seemingly no reason just to fill time — sorry Olivia Wilde.
The Next Three Days is the stuff generic thrillers are made of. It succeeds as counterprogramming to “Harry Potter” but doesn’t stand out as an inspiring alternative.
The Next Three Days
Directed by Paul Haggis
Written by Paul Haggis and Fred Cavayé
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson
Other Player Affinity Reviews
Simon thought: “From the opening scene, it is clear The Next Three Days is a Paul Haggis film. The whip-smart script and able direction boasts all the hallmarks that has established the filmmaker as a popular (although still wildly underrated) auteur. This tale of a man obsessed with freeing his wrongfully accused wife from prison doesn’t hesitate to jump straight into the action, so to speak, but still allows for us to care about these characters as the plot thickens. There are some too-convenient contrivances fluttering around the events that send Lara to prison and the middle portion offers a slight slump in the tension, but as a whole the film works to great effect. The performances are universally strong with Crowe evoking more of an everyman than he has in a while, Banks gives one of her best dramatic offerings and Neeson steals a cameo as a career criminal recruited to help bust Lara out. Seen by few, The Next Three Days shows that Hollywood products can have some brains and pizzazz when the right talent is involved.” Rating: 7.5/10
Julian’s Rating: 4/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.1/10