VOD film review: The Next Three Days
Ivan Radford | On 25, Feb 2014Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Paul Haggis
Cast: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson
Watch The Next Three Days online: iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
“I’m Russell Crowe’s Wife, Get Me Out of Prison!” doesn’t sound like a film with much credibility. Indeed, Paul Haggis’ remake of French thriller Pour Elle occasionally lacks it in the script department, but The Next Three Days is a surprisingly believable drama about a prison break-out. You know, if you can accept Russell Crowe as an English teacher.
John (Crowe) and Laura (Banks) Brennan are a happily married couple with a cute blonde-haired kid. Then, the police bust into the kitchen, the wife gets charged for murder and the family’s shattered for years to come. Cue lots of sad faces.
It’s a slow, muted start, with Crowe struggling to keep himself composed in front of his son. But the adult leads do well to make the marriage work, the prison exchanges between the separated couple packing a vital emotional punch. It’s this that knocks some conviction into John’s hare-brained scheme. His use of Liam Neeson and YouTube to become a smooth criminal is dubious at best, but by heck, he means it.
Haggis hikes things up for the second half, with determined cops and car chases taking place of moral dilemmas. Would you leave your child at a stranger’s house in favour of an exciting set piece? Russell Crowe would. And he sells the whole thing superbly, making sure his new leaf doesn’t turn over too smoothly.
To fit it all together, Haggis has to break the rules he set out at the start and winds up with a contrived ending. But you forget the flaws during the gripping cat-and-mouse sequence through Pittsburgh’s transport system. Using the location to add a realistic edge to events, The Next Three Days works well as a tense heist. And thanks to Russell Crowe’s convincing performance, it’s a pretty decent character study too. You know, if you can accept Russell Crowe as an English teacher.