The Next Three Days
Cast: John Brennan (Russell Crowe), Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks), George Brennan (Brian Dennehy), Lt. Nabulsi (Lennie James), Nicole (Olivia Wilde), Luke (Ty Simpkins), Grace Brennan (Helen Carey), Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson)
Director: Paul Haggis
Theatrical release: 11/19/2010
DVD Date: 03/08/2011
Running Time: 122 minutes
Note(s): Based on the film Pour Elle.
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Review: There is actually quite a bit to like about this film but I suspect that most people will be put off on how long -- excessively long -- it is. By long, I mean 30 to 40 minutes too long. There are lengthy stretches where little of substance happens and that's really too bad, since this could have been a taut thriller. Instead, it's a tediously drawn out drama with little suspense.
Russell Crowe plays John Brennan, a community college teacher, whose wife is arrested -- and ultimately convicted -- for killing her boss. For much of the movie you don't know if she's guilty or not, but that isn't the point: her husband believes her to be innocent. When all avenues of appeal have been exhausted, Brennan does what any rational loving husband would do: plan to break her out of prison. He's really quite inept at it, and that's part of his charm: in reality, how many of us, even with the vast resources available on the internet, would know how to go about breaking anyone out of prison? But he's determined, and the basic plot of the film is his planning her escape.
The first 15 to 20 minutes of The Next Three Days do a good job of providing a foundation for the film. But then the movie shifts into slow motion mode. Russell Crowe isn't the most dynamic of actors on his best day; couple his somewhat monotonous performance with a leaden sequence of scenes in which he is not only the primary character but often the only character and you have a mind-numbing stretch of the movie where the escape is mapped out. The pace picks up towards the end, but no doubt some viewers will miss it, having long ago hit the eject button on their player.
The cast includes Brian Dennehy as Brennan's father, but he's in only a handful of scenes; and Liam Neeson, who's in but one short scene ... though it is a good one. No, The Next Three Days is pretty much Russell Crowe's show, start to finish. But what's so frustrating about it as a viewer is that this could have been a really good movie if only someone had had the courage to edit it -- the script or the film itself -- properly.
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