I don’t remember seeing any trailers for Russell Crowe’s new movie, The Next Three Days. I noticed the title when I looked up what movies might be of interest to me this weekend. When I read the synopsis, I decided it might be one I’d enjoy. So, I saw it on Saturday after I may hair / pedi appointment – nice “me” day!
The movie stars Russell Crowe as John Brennan who seems to be enjoying life with his wife, Lara (played by Elizabeth Banks), and son, Luke (played by Ty Simpkins) – a happy, loving, affectionate family. Then, suddenly, their world turns upside down one peaceful morning when an army of police and detectives barge into their home to arrest Lara for the murder of her boss. They had a serious disagreement the day before and the boss was found dead in the parking garage later that evening – Lara’s co-workers witnessed the argument, her fingerprints were on the murder weapon, the victim’s blood was on her coat, and a co-worker saw her leave the parking garage just as he discovered the body! Slam dunk! Lara tried to tell them about another woman that she saw and how she assumes they can account for the blood and fingerprints, but no one would listen – she is sentenced to life in prison. After three years, all their hopes of appeals are ended with a final denial – she’s not getting out! She becomes suicidal and John becomes desperate to find a way to get his wife out of prison and get their family back together. So, he starts to research options and comes across a book by a guy who successfully broke out of seven prisons and he begins his elaborate plan to break her out and flee the country!
I definitely had mixed emotions about this one — on one hand, it was a very good story and a good cast — on the other hand, it was slow and bounced around a lot. It runs just over two hours and, given what they included in the story line, it could have easily been shortened to 90 minutes without cutting anything important out. If they wanted a two-hour movie, they should have added more depth to make it worth sitting there so long. As for the bouncing around part — it opened with one of the scenes much later in the film (John is driving with blood on his face and you hear someone dying in the back seat), then it jumps to a dinner out with his brother and their wives where Lara talks about the fight she had with her boss, then it jumps right to the arrest the next morning with a few flash backs from the murder scene, then it jumps right to three years later. It really isn’t “confusing”, per se, and you can follow it, but it still didn’t make a whole lot of sense — and why did they choose the opening scene? Other than it being a defining scene of John’s efforts to break Lara out of jail, it doesn’t really strike me as one that you would choose to frame the rest of the movie – just didn’t make sense to me.
I also expected more action — there is one nail-biting scene where I gasped “oh my God” out loud, but that was about it. Even the scene where John goes to a meth lab to steal their money doesn’t have as much action as it could have had.
All that aside, it was still a good story and cast. His plan is genius, even if his inexperience in underhanded dealings does get in the way a lot – and he doesn’t give up when he runs into a brick wall! He thinks it though and changes the plan as needed to get the results he wants – very good story!!! I was disappointed in a couple of the casting choices, though. For instance, they have the great actor Liam Neeson portraying Damon Pennington – the author of the book that sparks John’s journey – and they only have him in one roughly less than 5 minute scene! What? You pay Liam Neeson to be in your film and you only have him on-screen for a blink of an eye? Really? And the other disappointment was in their use of Brian Dennehy as John’s father – he is in several scenes, but has little or no lines! John barely speaks to his father – there is some history there that is alluded to, but not fully explained – so they don’t have any real dialog, but they do have a very emotional interaction toward the end. I would have liked for them to utilize both actors more — they surely could have added a lot to the story.
With all that said, you’re probably thinking I’m gonna rate this one low — well, I’m not! I wasn’t happy with the slow pace and bouncing around, but I think there was a lot that made up for it and it really didn’t ruin the movie for me. So – I rate this one a solid B-, but do recommend maybe waiting until it comes out on NetFlix – going to the theater results in spending a lot of money to sit and feel like it is dragging on too long in most scenes and I did feel a little cheated regarding the lack of action – watching it for a lot less $$$ would have been preferred. But, I am glad I watched it!