By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
The Next Three Days tells the tale of a husband (Russell Crowe) that will stop at nothing to free his wife (Elizabeth Banks) from prison, where she is incarcerated for a murder she claims to not have committed.To do this, he solicits the help of a grizzled multiple prison breaker played by Liam Neeson, and learns to navigate the criminal underworld to gather everything he’ll need to spring his wife.
This is the latest from Paul Haggis, of Crash fame.He can get caught up in the melodrama from time-to-time, but usually delivers a compelling film.This one is no different.It’s very details-oriented, and watching him figure out, sometimes the hard way, how to engineer a prison escape is so interesting that it carries us through the two hour and thirteen minute runtime.
The Pittsburgh setting is perfect for this type of film, as its many bridges and tunnels would have to make it nearly impossible to escape with the cops hard on your tail.All of this builds up to a genuinely gripping climax.
I reluctantly have to give a beer to Elizabeth Banks’ performance.I really like her, but she falls short in this one.She’s not given a lot of screen time, being in prison and all, so she overcompensates.The result is a manic, unstable maker of questionable decisions and a bare-bones characterization.
A final drink must be awarded the whole “did she do it or didn’t she?’ subplot.The question itself is a very interesting one to explore, especially in the context of a husband risking everything to free her.The script’s execution, however, results in too much explanation.Really, you could have trimmed the whole crime out of the film and added some much-needed subtlety and moral ambiguity.
This is a very competent thriller that is definitely worth a watch if you have a few hours to kill.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every flashback
Take a Drink: every time Russell Crowe does something inadvisable
Drink a Shot: every time Elizabeth Banks freaks out