John Brennan (Russell Crowe) is a community college professor who has been a single dad after his wife, Lara (Elizabeth Banks), was convicted of murder. For the past three years, he has been planning a way to break out his wife from prison. When his wife unexpectedly gets transferred to a maximum security prison, he has three days to execute his plan.
When I think of The Next Three Days, I like to think of it as very similar to a heist movie. Rather than stealing jewels or money from a vault, Russell Crowe is stealing his wife from prison. Seventy-five percent of the movie sees John Brennan, Crowe’s character, formulating a plan to break his wife out of prison. This is my favorite part of heist movies, seeing how the character scopes out his target, performs recon, and formulates his plan. It tends to be slow and tedious, and this film is no exception to that, but the payout is worth the buildup. I also enjoy how the movie didn’t reveal what happened that caused Lara (Elizabeth Banks) to get charged with murder until the very end. Plus it didn’t say outright whether she was guilty or innocent until the last few minutes. This helped create some tension during the slower first two acts.
There was a short scene where John was talking to his class about the book Don Quixote and the title character’s perceived reality around him. John’s lesson paralleled what he was experiencing with his wife’s imprisonment and was fun to see how the same lessons he was teaching could be applied to him. Russell Crowe has proven time and time again he can do drama, but I was a little surprised by Elizabeth Banks. I don’t remember seeing her in many dramas. She’s more of a comedy actress to me, but she nails it. The Next Three Days is a movie about a jailbreak but feels like a heist movie at heart. The pace may not be for everyone, but if you can muster through to the end, the payoff is worth it.
Cast & Crew
Paul Higgis – Director / Screenplay
Fred Cavayé – Screenplay (“Pour elle”)
Guillaume Lemans – Sceenplay (“Pour elle”)
Russell Crowe – John Brennan
Elizabeth Banks – Lara Brennan
Michael Buie – Mick Brennan
Ty Simpkins – Luke
Jason Beghe – Detective Quinn
Aisha Hinds – Detective Collero
Olivia Wilde – Nicole
Remy Nozik – Jenna
Kaitlyn Wilde – Julie
Toby Green – Three Year Old Luke
Tyler Green – Three Year Old Luke
Liam Neeson – Damon Pennington