Film Review – The Next Three Days

Lara (Elizabeth Banks) and John Brennan (Russell Crowe) appear to have an idyllic family life. She’s a career woman, he’s a lecturer and they have an adorable son. This is all turned on its head when Lara is arrested one morning on suspicion of murdering her boss. With blood on her coat and her fingerprints on the murder weapon, forensic evidence convicts Lara of the crime.

As I watched The Next Three Days, at first I was at a loss as to where it was planning to go with this. Had Lara been framed by her super-hot sister in law? Was her husband going to find the proof to secure her release? Was there a courtroom drama in the offing?

Well actually no… When Brennan discovers that three years after her conviction there is no chance of appeal, and Lara attempts to commit suicide, he decides that the only rational course of action is to plan a jailbreak.


A large percentage of the rest of the movie, written and directed by Paul Haggis, has Brennan making plans, putting together escape routes, getting ripped off and beaten up, but somehow finding a way to get Lara out of the clink and the country. Central to his plans is the conversation he has with Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), an ex-con with a history of jail-breaks. Pennington is sure that Brennan will screw it up because he wants it too badly, and believes he won’t manage to be ruthless enough. Through the movie Brennan has to toughen up and make some hard decisions.

It’s all very workmanlike but not terribly engaging and at times faintly ridiculous. Crowe mumbles through the movie, Banks is sadly underused, and Brian Dennehy as Brennan’s emotionally closed off father is almost invisible.

The jailbreak itself is clever and well-thought out with some key edge of the seat moments. Everything almost falls into place, not perfectly of course, as that would be too pat. It’s the most engaging and exciting piece of the movie and almost worth the price of admission. Except that by the time the movie gets to the action, frankly, I’d stopped caring.

Lara’s guilt, or otherwise is a grey area until a ridiculous coda featuring the original investigating officer. While it may give the audience some comfort, it does also beg the question why didn’t he do his job properly in the first place?

The Next Three Days isn’t a bad film per se, but it is for the most part very bland. It’s clever enough and the performances are sound, although Banks and Crowe have minimal chemistry. Diverting at best, to be seen if your first choice movie has been sold out.

The Next Three Days is released in the UK on January 5th.


~ by moviegrrlreviews on January 1, 2011.

4 Responses to “Film Review – The Next Three Days”

  1. So why is it called The Next Three Days?

  2. I thought the original version with Diane Kruger was bad enough. The whole premise is so riduclous. I’d love Hollywood to have a crack at remaking Revanche. On second thougts just leave it alone.

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