Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: The Next Three Days (2010) TH

Whatever it takes

When something unfair or wrong happens to us or someone we know, people attempt to rectify a situation in their own specific ways. Some would rather play by the rules, others have it in them to bend the rules, and there are those few that would actually break the rules if it meant protecting what matters most. That's what separates and defines our motivational factors as human beings living in an uncertain world where not everything is securely in our grasp.

The Brennan family gets a rude awakening when the wife gets arrested and the book slammed shut for cold blooded murder. Did she do it? Well, the community college teacher of a husband stands by to protect her despite the evidence being stacked. He's not a lawyer and he doesn't have friends in high places, but this everyday man does have enough determination to create a scheme to see his wife out one way or another. Enough to break a rule or even ten getting there.

"The Next Three Days" steadily paces as a drama/thriller. Russell Crowe's character goes through a number of emotional stages and encounters various people along the way, including those who are willing to help him, stop him or just plain got caught in the middle. There are some motivations glossed over as to how he got from point A to B, partly to give a continuous stream of action towards the latter portion to keep a viewer in the moment and from guessing the outcome. Those attempting to hamper his plan are unrealistically suspicious and coincidentally one step on top or behind to amp up the energy. It creates an escalating climax, but still feels manipulated to go a certain way by falling too much into the hands of the filmmakers to make this more marketable.

At the heart of it, the story manages to give something empowering back to those who've ever had an injustice against them, from getting robbed, laid off, cheated or, here, a loved one getting taken away and no chance of getting them back unless, that is, something's done about it.

Director: Paul Haggis (Crash, In the Valley of Elah)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde
Website: IMDB