9 may. 2011

My Review: The Next Three Days (9/10)

¨We spend a lot of time trying to organize the world. We build clocks and try to predict the weather. But what part of our life is truly under our control? ¨

Let me start out by saying that I absolutely loved this movie. It was one of the best films I`ve seen this year. This thriller had me at the edge of my seat for the entire second half of the movie. It was really intense and it had everything I look for in a thriller: it was suspenseful; it had good performances, interesting characters, and a smart script. Some critics argued that the length and pace of the film was to slow, but I thought The Next Three Days had a perfect pacing, steadily building the tension from the beginning to the highly climatic ending. Paul Haggis won two Oscars for his screenplays in Crash and Million Dollar Baby. He also adapted the screenplay for this film and directed it as well. He has written several other memorable screenplays like Casino Royale and In the Valley of Elah. I really enjoy his films and thought he should have received a lot more credit for this suspenseful thriller. He has proven to be a brilliant director and screenwriter. This film is actually a remake of a 2008 French film: Pour Elle (Anything for Her) which was directed by Fred Cavayé and stared Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds). I haven’t seen that movie so I don`t know how faithful this adaptation was, but I can say that this American version is really satisfying. I was a big fan of the TV series Prisonbreak (mainly the first season), and this movie reminded me a lot of that series.

John (Russell Crowe) and Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) live an apparently happy married life along with their three year old son Luke in Pittsburgh. One morning the police storm in their house accusing Lara of murder. She had had a heavy argument with her boss the previous night and her body was found lifeless in the parking lot. Lara was seen leaving the scene of the crime by another co-worker and her fingerprints were all over the fire extinguisher, the murder weapon. They also found the victim`s blood on her coat so all the evidence was against Lara. The movie jumps three years forward as John is working really hard with his lawyer to file for an appeal. John is convinced that her wife is innocent and is willing to fight for her freedom. He visits Lara at the Allegheny County jail regularly along with Luke (now played by Ty Simpkins) who doesn`t speak to his mom. John keeps his wife updated with the case and she tells him that someone else was at the crime scene that night. She bumped into her in the garage and heard a button pop, but the police never found any evidence of it. All hope seemed to be lost, the appeal was rejected and Lara would have to spend 20 more years in prison. Lara doesn`t want to spend the rest of her life in prison without being able to speak to her son so she tries to kill herself. John is not willing to leave her wife in prison for a crime he is convinced she didn`t commit so he tries to figure out a plan to help her escape and so the action begins.

Liam Neeson has a small role in this film as Damon Pennington, an ex-con who wrote a book on how to escape from jail. John meets with him and asks for advice on how he can free his wife. It`s a small role but it is key because it sets the mood and suspense for the next hour. The beautiful Olivia Wilde also has a small role as the single mother of Nicole, one of Luke`s playground friends. It`s not a really important role, but it helps establish John`s character in the film as a loving father and caring husband. He will do whatever it takes to free her wife and he doesn`t even doubt her one bit. Russell Crowe is a great actor and he is brilliant in this film. He expresses so much without having to speak. The scene where he has to tell his wife that the appeal was rejected is heartbreaking. He doesn`t have to say anything to her, she already see`s it in his eyes. So does the rest of the family. As the movie carries on, the suspense begins to build more and more up to a very satisfying finale. The Next Three Days is one of the best thrillers I have seen in a while and the length of the film didn`t bother me one bit because the movie was really intense. Paul Haggis should get more recognition for this movie than he has received because it was truly satisfying.

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