Oscar winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis returns to theaters this weekend with his latest film, The Next Three Days. It stars Russell Crowe as a desperate man who’s willing to do whatever it takes to reunite his wife with their family, the only problem is — she’s in prison. From that premise alone you can imagine all the craziness that will ensue. Is The Next Three Days a worthy follow up to Haggis’ previous works? Find out in our review…

The Players:

  • Director: Paul Haggis:
  • Screenwriter: Paul Haggis, Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans (Pour Elle)
  • Cast: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Ty Simpkins, Lennie James, Olivia Wilde, Helen Carey, Brian Dennehy, Aisha Hinds, Jason Beghe, Allan Steele, RZA, Liam Neeson, Jonathan Tucker, Kevin Corrigan
  • Cinematography By: Stéphane Fontaine
  • Original Music By: Danny Elfman, Alberto Iglesias

The Plot:

The Next Three Days centers on John (Crowe) and Lara Brennan (Banks) and his undeniable quest for her freedom. After having an argument with her employer, Lara is arrested the day after her boss’s dead body is found in a parking lot. All of the evidence points to her as the killer and she’s sentenced to serve some serious time in prison. Her husband John feels as if the system has given up on finding the real murderer so he decides to take matters into his own hands. After extensive research, interviews, and hours of strategizing, John sets out to do the unthinkable — break his wife out of prison.

The Good:

  • Elizabeth Banks: Banks is mostly known for her comedic roles in films like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Role Models. She barely dips into other genres but when she does she’s amazing as proven by her performance in this film. She does a great job of making you feel the frustration that her character is going through with her heartbreaking performance.
  • Trial and Error: The one great thing about the story is how it shows one man’s journey through trial and error. John is trying to break his wife out of prison and that’s no easy feat. You see him going on YouTube and asking around to see how he can get fake passports, how he can make a “bump” key, and how he can safely get out of the country within a certain amount of time. He visibly works for the knowledge. It doesn’t come to him overnight. It’s realistic.

The Bad:

  • The Tone: It’s hard to tell if this is a hardcore drama, a thriller, or a subtle action film. The movie starts off with a comedic scene, and throughout jokes continue to appear when they’re really not needed. Most of the material came from the cops who were investigating John. Instead of working they were busting each other’s balls and saying snarky comments. We thought this was a murder investigation?
  • The Pace: The film seemed a bit long in the tooth. It runs at about 122 minutes and a good 20 of those could have been cut out.
  • The Supporting Characters: The supporting characters are not developed well. All of the cops blended in to one. They all seemed like extras from “NYPD Blue,” with the main offender being the lead investigator (Lennie James) who was pulling off his best James McDaniel impersonation. Also, there’s a storyline with John’s dad, played by the great Brian Dennehy that they don’t really explore.

Overall:

The Next Three Days isn’t a horrible movie, but its definitely not one of Paul Haggis’ best. As a whole it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat but the final act delivers some good action and decent suspense. This is a definite hit or miss.

Rating: 6/10

The Next Three Days opens on November 19.

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

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Will you be going to see The Next Three Days this weekend?