hen I was writing my review for The Next Three Days, I discovered that it was a remake of the French film Pour elle, or Anything For Her. So I decided to do something a little bit different that I haven’t done before and write a comparison between the two and how the difference in language may affect the story. This kind of writing not my strong suit but we don’t grow if we don’t challenge ourselves. I found the full video for Anything For Her on YouTube but about a third of the way into it the subtitles got away from the voices. I don’t mind subtitles, but at that moment I wished for some translation software like what Smartling provides, but for voices in a video rather than text on a web page. Luckily I was able to find the movie elsewhere online and continued unhindered.
Normally I try to avoid spoilers but given the nature of this post, I need to talk about plot points. Consider yourself warned. For simplicity, from now on I’m going to abbreviate Anything For Her as AFH and The Next Three Days as TNTD. First I’ll start with the cast list for both films with their counterparts:
|The Next Three Days||Anything For Her|
|Russell Crowe – John Brennan||Vincent Lindon – Julien Auclert|
|Elizabeth Banks – Lara Brennan||Diane Kruger – Lisa Auclert|
|Ty Simpkins – Luke Brennan||Lancelot Roch – Oscar Auclert|
|Helen Carey – Grace Brennan||Liliane Rovere – Julien’s mother|
|Michael Buie – Mick Brennan||Olivier Perrier – Julien’s father|
|Brian Dennehy – George Brennan||Thierry Godard – Pascal Aucler|
|Olivia Wilde – Nicole||Dorothee Tavernier – Nathalie|
|Jason Beghe – Detective Quinn||Remi Martin – Capitaine Jousseaume|
|Liam Neeson – Damon Pennington||Olivier Marchal – Henri Pasquet|
One of the first differences I noticed was that there was much more romance between Julien and Lisa in the beginning than between John and Lara. Of course, you know French is the language of romance. Also right in the beginning, Anything For Her didn’t show the tension between Lisa and her boss the same way The Next Three Days showed between Lara and her boss. Instead of a spat at dinner like TNTD, AFH showed flashbacks to show the argument at work.
In TNTD, one of my favorite things was how the audience doesn’t see the murder until the very end. Throughout the movie, John was insistent that his wife was innocent. However, the evidence was clearly stacked against his wife and even she at one point admitted to him she committed the murder. I felt this helped create some tension in the film because you wanted to think she was wrongfully accused but it made you think that maybe she really did it and the Don Quixote parallel was more relevant than merely on the surface. But by showing what happened in the beginning, all that stress was removed.
Another glaring difference that came about from the setting was when Damon Pennington and Henri Pasquet were explaining police responses. Pennington mentioned that after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, protocols were set up nationwide for police to quickly respond to an incident or attack. Obviously, this was a US incident and not a French incident, so Pasquet didn’t mention anything regarding police protocols being set up. Instead, he basically just told Julien that he needs to move fast. The rest of the conversation was pretty much identical in the two films.
When John was setting up his getaway, one of the items he required were passports for him, his wife, and his son. Julien also required passports. However, this was very simple in AFH but more complicated and foreboding in TNTD. Both guys who were supplying the passports told John and Julien to leave if he wasn’t at the drop point. In AFH, the passport guy showed up and made the exchange and Julien went on his merry way. In TNTD, the passport guy wasn’t there on time and instead of leaving like he was told, John waited for him to show up. When the passport guy came to give John the passports, he told John “You want this too much. You’ll fuck it up.” These words are given weight because you know he has no experience in what he is trying to accomplish. He is a caring family man, not some thug, so there is a very good chance he may indeed “fuck it up.”
A big plot point for the getaway in TNTD was Luke’s relationship with his friend from the park. Their relationship slowly grew throughout the film. When John was breaking his wife out of jail, this gave a place for Luke to stay. More than that, it gave John a way to leave Luke behind if necessary. Pennington and Pasquet both told John and Julien that they must be willing to cut ties to his entire family, which included his son. This allowed us to see John was willing to go as far as leaving his son behind for his wife. The relationship between Oscar and the little girl were there, but hardly and it didn’t mean anything.
Plus, John was able to demonstrate his ability to think quickly by getting the elderly couple to ride with them through the checkpoint. Pennington gave John a timeline of how far the police would be in their search for him and Lara. Because Lara refused to leave without their son, they had to go to the zoo to pick him up, putting the escape way behind schedule. Since John understood the police would be looking for a couple and a boy, by having more people in the car, he knew the police would let them through the checkpoint. In AFH, Julien employed a similar technique by using a European Uber-like service, but this was part of his plan from the start and not something he had to improvise. This gave a glimpse that Julien was had planned well, but I liked better to see John think on his feet.
Another thing I liked about TNTD was watching John plan his wife’s escape. This included learning how to break into a car and creating a bump key to break into an elevator. AFH doesn’t show as much of the planning aspect, which is disappointing. Instead, it did more character building that TNTD. Julien had more of a relationship with his brother than was seen between John and his brother.
The most exciting part of TNTD was when John finally put his plan into action to break his wife out of jail. It was awesome to see how he stayed one step ahead of the police the entire time. There were a few times that they got ahead based on dumb luck, but hey, that’s movies. The getaway was not as exciting in AFH. It was shorter and Julien’s plan was executed exactly as he planned it, whereas John’s ran into a few hiccups and he had to improvise like I was talking about earlier. I didn’t feel as on-the-edge-of-my-seat like I did in TNTD.
Overall, I would say that between the two, I enjoyed The Next Three Days more. To me, it was more thriller-y. I really liked the reveal of how the boss was really murdered at the end. It definitely kept my mind moving as to whether or not she actually was innocent and John’s blind faith in his wife’s innocence was misplaced. And there was much more that went into the planning and final execution than in Anything For Her. It was fun to see the differences caused by the language and setting of the two films, such as the increased romance and the explanations from Pennington and Pasquet about police responses.
So there you have it, my comparison between Anything For Her and its US remake, The Next Three Days. It was something different for me and I hope you enjoyed. If you’ve seen both films, which one do you like better?