THE NEXT THREE DAYS Review

I can see why critics have not been too kind to 'The Next Three Days'. It is a long and tedious film, one that takes its simmer a little too seriously and a little too far. What I don't understand is the complaint that not all of this is possible, that in fact some of it seems downright ridiculous. Because, for me, it wasn't the great lengths or the people or the devices Russell Crowe's character went through in trying to free his wife from prison, no, what I found hardest to believe is that the beautiful Elizabeth Banks would even be married to the pudgy Crowe in the first place. It is an odd match to say the least and when such a casting error is made it can greatly affect factors that play into the plot. As this is my main complaint though, I am able to get past it as Banks appears only in a few scenes until the final segment (which is the best in the film). And so, with Mr. Crowe in the lead and my distraction out of the way, I found this to be a rather gripping film. Paul Haggis who shot to fame with 'Crash', but since has not been able to create another film garnering nearly as much praise. That is not to say I didn't enjoy 'In the Valley of Elah' in fact i thought it played on many of the same levels as this one does. They are tense dramas, and as written by Haggis they play out with a little extra length than might be necessary but I was never bored while watching the film and I was looking for it to drag seeing as it was all the reviews were saying about it. What I enjoyed most about the movie is how small and quaint it began and even through the arrest scene it keeps a quiet tone, and we see such an evolution in Crowe's character John, we see his anger grow larger, but in a quiet, solemn way. We are three years into his wife's jail time and he has become an only parent, a working class stiff and a silent fighter. He still sits every night going over documents from his wife's trial, trying to figure out a way to get her out of there. After all roads seem to go nowhere though John is forced to the thought of spending the rest of his life without his love, without her there to see the growth of their son and it pushes him. I believe it would any person in that situation, it just takes the one with enough guts to go through with it and as John demonstrates in grand fashion, he has what it takes. Crowe owns the film, and while it feels like one of those 90's action dramas that we will no doubt watch on TV one day on a Sunday afternoon, taking it all in for the first time with all of its mystery, I at least, thought is was very intriguing. From the opening scene, which I'm still not sure why we were shown that particular clip first, but still, from that point on I was pretty much hooked. The publicity for the film doesn't lend itself well, I saw a preview for this only one time in front of another film before its release. It is needless to say a Crowe vehicle deserves a little more. What truly bothers me though is how much bad press this one is getting and I don't mean to focus on that, but when I go into a movie that has received a pretty average 45% rating on rotten tomatoes I expect it to be a little worse than this. What I am saying is that this film was a pleasant surprise. It is a tense drama with a butt load of action packed into the last half hour. If that sounds like too little too late, by all means, but you should be warned that the first hour and a half has its own small moments of great tension and without everything it offers the culmination of these events wouldn't be nearly as rewarding. I think Haggis is a talented screenwriter and certainly a competent director and I hope he is given the opportunity by his distributors and the critics to show how solid his films are. They may not all be 'Crash' but you could do much worse. 'The Next Three Days' is a middle of the road film, it is good, nothing you will think about the next day, but nothing you will regret wasting two hours on. All I'm saying is, don't always trust what you hear, they could be wrong. I think they were on this one.