The Next Three Days

Woman Breakout of Prison


17 November 2010| No Comments on The Next Three Days     by Sean Chavel


Preposterous and hindered by even further coincidences but undeniably entertaining – it’s a wrong man must beat the system fantasy. The Next Three Days though has the wrong woman in Elizabeth Banks (supposedly), and hubby Russell Crowe has to prove his wife’s innocence. When he can’t succeed at that – the law can’t see beyond circumstantial evidence and the appeals don’t allow submitted new evidence – he decides that the only way to ever get his wife back from life imprisonment is to devise a breakout for her. But he’s a fumbling ordinary man who makes novice mistakes, and that makes this often told story into something a tad more interesting.

The actual murder that placed Banks in prison is seen in teasing tidbit flashbacks. Crowe, as community college professor John Brennan, professes his wife’s innocence. Others might be yelling she’s a schizophrenic psychopath, but Brennan refuses to believe that. Brennan meets a jailbreak artist named Damon (Liam Neeson, terrific cameo) who provides him with lessons in how to escape and how to acquire fake identity papers and passports. Brennan puts himself to work selling everything he can (the furniture, the house) and goes out in crime-infested neighborhoods to make “deals” for weapons, passports and more. How he comes to bust up a meth lab dealer is certainly a loony piece of storytelling, but a rousing one but only if you’re sold into this pulp fantasy. All this, and Brennan is also a tireless father to their grade school son distraught by his mommy’s absence.

Brennan loves his wife so much, and is so determined to risk his neck, that he doesn’t care that single mom Olivia Wilde (the upcoming “Tron: Legacy”) has lusting eyes for him. She’s lustful herself. It’s part of the perfect hubby melodrama, the man of such high integrity that he can’t even lay eyes on a next door beauty while his wife is still alive and locked up, alas his obstinate integrity makes you feel – well, he’s only human now if he breaks the law. Brian Dennehy is the grandfather, of few words, that courts his son with his terse wisdom in the right called-for moment.

Paul Haggis is the director. “In the Valley of Elah” (2007) is an unheralded masterpiece. “Crash” (2005), to me, is an overrated Oscar winner. This flick, based on the French thriller “Pour Elle” (2008), is his first directorial fare into the world of popcorn suspense and thrills. The last half hour has a nifty Spielbergian clockwork cleverness to it. Crisp timing, unhesitating action. The cops in pursuit are at once too smart ahead of the curve in the way they use left behind evidence to figure out Brennan’s whereabouts.

124 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “The Fugitive” (1993); “The Life of David Gale” (2003); “Oldboy” (2005, South Korea); “Pour Elle” (2008, France).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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