The Next Three Days

23 Nov

Title: The Next Three Days
Year:
2010
Director:
Paul Haggis
Writer:
Paul Haggis, based on the original film written by Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans
Starring:
Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde, Jason Beghe, Liam Neeson
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, violence, drug material, language, some sexuality and thematic elements
Runtime:
122 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
7.2
Rotten Tomatoes:
41%

The Next Three Days premiered on Friday, and after its first weekend at the box office it’s set to stand as a seriously low-grosser for the usually bankable Russell Crowe, as it seems on point to make less than $7 million for its first three days, the less of any of his films since the horrible A Good Year, however, don’t let that be a sign of anything, because this one’s better than that one. The pacing may be a pit too slow but, for me, Mr. Crowe and his co-star Elizabeth Banks, who I’m a huge fan of, totally sold this one for me.

The pacing problem is one I think may throw off a lot of people from this film, and it’s because Paul Haggis, who had otherwise made the Oscar-winning Crash and the seriously good In the Valley of Elah, directed this one in a way that just tried too much to make us understand every single step of it, always taking too long to explain stuff to us to the point in which I felt like screaming “Alright, we get it!”, and, to be honest, this is a film in which even though explanations are given by the dozens, the events of it seem too hard to believe for the most part, not because the steps are wrong, but because I didn’t buy the main character. And considering the cast this one had lined up, I was expecting much more than the end result we got, which was a very okay film, but nothing like the stuff Mr. Haggis had delivered before that.

Mr. Crowe’s character, John, is a school teacher who’s wife is convicted for a crime she says she didn’t commit, and which he deeply believes she couldn’t have, and he then does everything he can to get her free. That’s the basic gist of it, and while there are times in which this one works, mostly because Mr. Crowe is a seriously good actor, there are also a lot of times in which we don’t buy an English professor doing all of this and all of sudden looking as though he did it for a living.

But that’s not really Mr. Crowe’s fault, his performance is still seriously solid. As is Ms. Banks’ as Lara, his wife who all evidence points was the one who did the crime and must now do the time. And she apparently must start doing the time soon enough, as she is set to be transferred to a state prison in three days, time in which John must find out how to free her from the prison she’s currently being held in. But yeah, the fact that an English teacher can do that in three days seems kind of implausible. The steps of the plan, as I said, are carefully explained, too carefully at times, making it seem like an instruction manual for people who will actually go ahead and try this out in real life, but for the most part they’re all quite interesting and everything, that’s not the issue, the issue is that I just can’t believe John Brennan doing this because Mr. Crowe just doesn’t feel too much like John Brennan considering what we have seen him do in other roles.

So that’s my thing with this film I guess, the fact that even though Mr. Crowe’s performance was quite good, it felt like the kind of performance that oozes this sort of broodiness and that when it explodes the action scenes that will follow will seem believable. As such, I didn’t believe the parts in which John seemed unknowing of what to do and desperate about his circumstance, I always knew that he was capable of everything, and that’s because Mr. Crowe just seems like that guy.

I know I have been going on and on about this, but that’s just because that’s all I left with once I finished watching the film, and I felt that this would have been a much more competent affair had it granted some more credibility to its lead character. This will also feel a bit too much like a feature length instructional how-to video on jailbreaks, but I don’t have as much beef with that, even though at times it drags along too much, but at least it’s interesting. This was, however, a remake from a French film, and not a Haggis original, so the writer-director’s awesomeness streak is technically still intact, and I’ll still be waiting impatiently for his next project.

Grade: B-

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One Response to “The Next Three Days”

  1. moviegeek December 19, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    I was quite surprised by how much I liked this movie.
    A solid Thriller, with some great performances.
    Here’s my review
    http://wp.me/p19wJ2-8n

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