The writer and director that brought us Crash, Casino Royale, and Million Dollar Baby attempts to bring us another thoughtful thriller with The Next Three days, but Paul Haggis misses a few key ingredients.
When Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) is convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years, her husband (Russell Crowe) will do anything to get her out and prove her innocence. After tracking down ever legal means of doing so, John Brennan resorts to a prison escape, but he has to do it within the next three days before his wife is transfered. Acquiring the council of a convict who had escaped from prison seven times (Liam Neeson) John begins to orchestrate the intricate plan of escape. Once the escape is in motion, several police officers and detectives are hot on his heals to stop him.
The story here is a little hard to believe. The coincidence of the murder and the little information given about the crime that put Lara behind bars in the first place is somewhat confusing. Along with that, there were several other things that just didn’t fit well in the flow of the story. Casting Liam Neeson as a seven time veteran escape artist who wrote a book about it and is walking the streets, Seriously? John Brennan selling furniture to fund the escape but keeping his iPhone, Mac Book, and Prius; an annoying distraction. Ultimately, there was a lot of unnecessary attention given to points that made the story less relatable and more far fetched. Finally, the ending and conclusion to the whole murder fiasco is a huge let down. It’s almost like they ran out of creativity after they created Liam Neeson’s character.
The cast is not short of amazing actors and interesting roles, but the compelling characters are underdeveloped while Russell Crowe is showcased in a rather mediocre perspective. There is no reason why Crow needed to put on an extra 50 pounds for this movie. Jason Beghe and Aisha Hinds, the detectives keeping a watchful eye on John Brennan, were actually quite interesting and would have added more appeal if they had been given more of a key role in the film. Elizabeth Banks offers a decent performance, offering some believability to her predicament, but even she was sort of a lesser character in the story.
This is the second prison type movie this year based on a lot of the same themes: Loved ones separated by prison, a murder that the convicted party may or may not be guilty of, and their loved ones doing whatever they can to get them out. I’m speaking of Conviction and though I wasn’t thrilled about that film, I’d strongly recommend it over The Next Three Days.
I give this film 2 out of 5 stars. The star power is not enough to light up this movie.
This film is rated R for violence, drug material, language, and some sexual and thematic elements.
This film is in theaters, but you might want to save your money.