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October 31st, 2014

The Next Three Days Movie Review

The Next Three Days Movie ReviewI wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I sat down in the theater to watch Paul Haggis’ new film THE NEXT THREE DAYS. I had seen a trailer a month or so beforehand, but couldn’t quite remember exactly how it presented the film, since nearly every trailer released lately completely misrepresents the actual tone of the movie. I was aware of the premise and everyone involved so I had a feeling that even if I wasn’t completely with the story that I would at least enjoy the performances by the two leads, which is carries most of the film. I sometimes worry about films that try to span so many different genres especially when you try to make a film that thrills you while also trying to strike an emotional balance. I am actually somewhat surprised to be able to say that THE NEXT THREE DAYS finds a way to mix each of its story elements in a successful and compelling way, but not without a few hiccups.

THE NEXT THREE DAYS follows John Brennan (Russell Crow), a professor at a community college whose wife, Lara (Elizabeth Banks) is suddenly arrested and convicted of the murder of her boss who she had an altercation with the day before at work. John is left alone with his son as he tries appeal after appeal but to no avail, so he faces the reality of having to deal with his wife facing life in prison. After Lara attempts suicide John decides that he has no choice but to try and find a way to make sure that prison does not become her life, so he tirelessly researches and stakes out the routines of the prison with limited funds. The more desperate he becomes the more risks he finds he is willing to take as he gets closer and closer to making the transformation to mild mannered law abiding citizen to a reckless fugitive.

Upon exiting the theater the very first thing that came to mind was that the film felt long. Most films that are consistently entertaining often don’t feel quite as long as they actually are and you never glance at your watch during the course of the film. I don’t wear a watch to the theater anymore specifically to avoid that problem, but when I got about an hour and a half into the film I started feeling that it was running a little long. At the hour and a half mark is actually when things start picking up quite a bit so once we entered the last half hour that feeling subsided, until ultimately it ended and I had to start contemplating what I liked and didn’t like about the film. I really think that the first 45 minutes of the film and the last half hour are some of the most compelling stretches of the film, if you were to combine those two stretches with some choice bits from the middle stretch we could have had a very solid hour and half film. As it stands at just slightly over two hours, when you hit halfway the pace slows down and the next half hour is filled with hit and miss moments that aren’t near as interesting as the rest of the film.

The biggest reason to recommend the film are the performances; Russell Crowe and Elizabeth banks are both fantastic. The journey that Russell Crowe’s character goes through in the film is incredibly captivating even in the slower and less interesting middle half of the film. Elizabeth Banks does not get near enough screen time, but when she is there she gives a very genuine and emotional performance. The success of the film really hangs on the audience’s ability to feel for the two characters and buy into the transformation of Crowe’s character with the clash of ideals between him and Bank’s when the stress of their situation hits its peak. Our enjoyment is also hinged on rather or not we can really connect with the character’s thought process and motivations for what they do and say. In that aspect the film really exceeds; I found myself thinking there’s no way someone would go through all this, but the emotional payoff of the events builds and culminates in such a way that I ended up finally understanding why someone would do this, even if I don’t totally agree with it. All I know is that if it were me in this situation and I was so deadest on going through with the plan, with the complicated nature of what Crowe’s character goes through and with what’s at stake I know that I’d screw it up so I’d just as well walk into the prison take the cop’s cuffs and slap them on myself.

The appearances by Liam Neeson and Kevin Corrigan are very good but brief as well as an appearance by Daniel Stern as Lara and John’s attorney. That’s where many of my slight gripes about the movie fall into place is that when they are there they are extremely brief, aside from my complaint about middle half of the movie dragging. On of my smallest complaints falls at the beginning of the film after the police bust in to arrest Lara; the scene transitions to John and his son and the son is visibly older than before but we have no context to how much time has elapsed except for a brief line of dialogue when they visit Lara in prison, and even then I think that comes a few scenes down the road, so until we have that context we have no idea exactly how long she’s already been in prison. My problem with that is that my mind wondered on how strange the situation instead of going with the film; it’s a minor blip on the radar, but a blip nonetheless.

Aside from the performances the other aspect of the film that justified the price of admission was the final half hour of the film, which I don’t want to spoil, except to say that the building of tension is almost spot on; minus the inclusion of a scene within the last 3 minutes of the film involving a couple of cops which I found incredibly misleading and pointless. Everything leading up to the final moments of the film was done exceedingly well and had me on the edge of my seat.

With THE NEXT THREE DAYS you can spin a wheel with all of the genres it touches on and no matter which one it lands on it’s a near perfect explanation of what it is. Russell Crow and Elizabeth Banks have great chemistry and they both give very compelling performances. Director Paul Haggis weaves and builds tension incredibly well in certain stretches of the film while losing focus somewhere in the middle, but he always manages to rebound. THE NEXT THREE DAYS may not be one of the best films you will see in theaters this year but it without a doubt is pure popcorn entertainment.




18 Comments


  1. Bobbyjonewell

    just got back from the movie and loved every second. not just because of crowe. not one character acted below excelent. realy. my wife was a video store manager for 8 years so ive seen quite a bit over the years and we as a family are rough critics. yes it seems long but i wouldnt cut one second. its a thrill ride. my stomach felt tight through most of the show….havent felt that ….well i cant remember when. i give it all the stars.


  2. dnj

    I also loved this movie and unlike many films I’ve seen over the past few years, did not find myself losing interest in it for even a second. It was compelling, thrilling, poignant, and just beautifully acted. Highly recommend it!


  3. Pml008

    Movie: The Next Three Days

    The movie I just watched today was excellent. Right on topic with what I’m most interested; namely, the subject of reality and again the collectivists trying to pull the disinformation game.

    Early in the movie there is a reference to Don Quixote in Russell Crowe’s class and how reality is subjective which is the set up that this is movie is a discussion of realities subjective nature. Carlos Castaneda processes much of this in his books to the point that if a person is focused on changing his reality he can proceed and execute every plan with flawless delivery. The book “Hagakure” also touches on this briefly on various pages. One reference that comes to mind is, to be so focused on success that even in the last moment of death one can do even just one more act no matter how impossible before the life passes out of the body. In the movie “The Ninth Gate” Dean Corso makes off with a rare copy of Don Quixote, for his character development. Even this movie speaks on the subject of our perceived reality quite overtly.

    Either way Russell Crowe’s character is faced with having to get his wife out of prison for a murder she didn’t commit, no secret she’s innocent, but even with Russell’s certain belief of his wife’s innocence, here in this world the law says you are a criminal, even though the law is fallible. Again reality is subjective and truth is hidden for lack of evidence and civil servants that are failingly, “only human”. Any appointed Judge should have picked up that the crime was plausibly deniable but there too is the subjective nature of reality where if it is plausibly deniable, in a collectivist world structure, the right answer is to convict the innocent. Any drain on resources is an acceptable drain on society, the individuals’ spirit, and the individuals’ family. Through tyranny of the state “they” feed on the human suffering. Law makers Judges, city builders and politicians all benefit personally, monetarily and get their fix of power over another’s. Not in any sense that we the sheep would ever clue into from their perspective. Conventional wisdom would say this is preposterous, putting an innocent in jail would result in lost dollars and there in lies is the flipside of the same coin. Collectivist and unwitting public live in the same physical world and operate in different realities.

    Anyway back to the main storyline, the character Russell is playing–as in “The Fire From With In” by Carlos Castaneda– he goes up against the tyrant (the State) and even the criminals in this world know that he is too focused as he tries to purchase new identification passports and such, where upon receipt, the one forger on the motorcycle gives his sage advice “your trying too hard, your going to fuck it up”, very true as the Don’s of Castaneda advise Carlos to let it come naturally as anything worth doing won’t come no matter how hard you concentrate. Eckhart Tolle a German spiritual guru in current favour of some on the subject of living in the moment, states that it is impossible to live in the moment always, well let me back up he doesn’t say this so much as demonstrates that although we can have brief periods of living in the moment, it requires focus but not concentration because the very act of concentration means you are not here anymore your mind is somewhere else. Just like if you try to empty your mind of thought, you can do it for a fleeting moment, but as soon as you think your doing it you realize your not.

    So with this revelation, Russell’s character after this changes as he learns he doesn’t have as much time as he thought after the “Bump Key” mistake he is now on the radar and attention is put on him, he can’t continue with this plan anymore. So now he has to let the new plan come naturally and realizes his wife’s diabetes is the new “Key”, he is totally rejuvenated and shows this as he exacts his plan with confidence. From the medical deliver truck he passes though like clockwork, when he strides up to the telephone cable box and cuts the phones strategically and moves on to take his son to the birthday party for safe keeping and contingency plan on contingency is shown and he strides through every seeming stumbling block as though he has replayed this role of a loving husband. Getting his wife out and changing his reality or creating a new reality were he and his family can be happy, defeating the tyrant “the State”. This act of perfection in plan has a overall grand unifying aspect as the tyrant is defeated, the world can become a bit better bit by bit. This possibility is glimpsed at the end of the movie when the one detective, perhaps astounded by the perfect getaway in his mind, wonders if it was meant to be by going back to the original crime seen to find the button in the wife’s testimony, if he had been able to see the button that revealed itself with the rain as he pulled the gutter grate off, the tyrant would have been defeated. If it weren’t for the human failing to “see” our tyrant would also be defeated and our reality would change.

    Where the collectivist view and a lie or disinformation is imparted to the movie is with regard to trying to make us the audience believes the whole world or the State is so impossible to beat, 15 minutes before the city of Pittsburg is locked down and then 35 minutes the state is locked down. Well if there was anything the collectivist would want people to believe is just that, to stifle the individual and demoralize any attempt to rebel. You are their possession and under their thumb and it was luck every step of the way that Russell’s character and family got away. Again two sides to every coin, one reality vs another, a little bit of truth with a lie to let it settle into the viewers subconscious so you settle down and don’t try to create your own reality to be free.

    Conventional wisdom would say, if the state would want to truly keep people ignorant why would they let such a movie hit the theatres for public viewing. I could say it has to do with keeping things palatable to enter the subconscious of humans. Our minds are so apt to reject anything contrived and for this reason a mixing of truth with disinformation makes the medicine go down. This would be dismissed by conventional wisdom and certain people would just rather say reality is reality or quote Occam’s Razor or something and burry their head in the sand but this is just a coping mechanism. Even after saying all this, reality is a bitter pill to swallow and some just need to believe there is a steak in front of them and that it tastes good.

    PML
    corporate-punishment dot com


    • Aris Fuckthelastaname

      This movie it’s a copy of the “Anything for her” a french film back in 2008….
      and actually a bad copy….as always with the pathetic thriller makers of hollywood…
      how many times we will watch in a film the whole world destroyed by a police guy or in the name of love?
      How many times you will watch a film just because has action without even real “Actors” who can support the movie just with their skills??

      Its Up to YOu! i call them “tin Movies”
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt12

      Hasta Pasta
      Flag


    • Aris Fuckthelastaname

      This movie it’s a copy of the “Anything for her” a french film back in 2008….
      and actually a bad copy….as always with the pathetic thriller makers of hollywood…
      how many times we will watch in a film the whole world destroyed by a police guy or in the name of love?
      How many times you will watch a film just because has action without even real “Actors” who can support the movie just with their skills??

      Its Up to YOu! i call them “tin Movies”
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt12

      Hasta Pasta
      Flag


      • Pml008

        Yeah, I found the french movie after the fact. I appreciate more the backstory I found in relation to the Castaneda book. You are right when you look at movies with the one viewpoint and not the layers they do seem Tin Like.

        The other back story is Paul Haggis was in the process of leaving Scientology’s control prior to finishing the movie so maybe it is less of a Tin Movie and a statement about the world he was living in to the world we are living in.

        Just like the Zombie movies were a commentary on people being brain washed mall walkers shopping, this is a movie about getting out of the control cycle.

        Things are not what they seem at first…


  4. Misses

    Fantastic film! One of the best that I’ve seen in a long time. The acting was brilliant and the story line was gripping and intriguing! Wonderful and highly highly recommended.


  5. Tigersam_20002000

    I will say only this…………This type of movie will live with you for ever……….until the day you die……….Simply Brilliant.


  6. Dmbthefirst

    great film BUT!!! who done it? missed the ending due to power cuts at the cinema….. please someone tell me


  7. may

    ?power cuts? yeah right… the version floating online is missing the part right after they lift the gutter


  8. may

    ?power cuts? yeah right… the version floating online is missing the part right after they lift the gutter


  9. Wirishpride

    can some kind soul tell me the ending. i just watched the video and it stopped when the cop was looking in the drain for the button


    • Northerlight

      The cop looked for the button, floated a piece of paper in the rain to see where it landed, The cops lift a drain cover to see if they could find a button, He didn ´t find the button, but the button was there. Good film


    • Northerlight

      The cop looked for the button, floated a piece of paper in the rain to see where it landed, The cops lift a drain cover to see if they could find a button, He didn ´t find the button, but the button was there. Good film


  10. Bddbld

    Good acting and characters casted well. Very well done (directed) and good story line.
    Crowe and Banks worked well together-believeable.
    My complaint is too many Cars (toyoto) need diversity!!!Chase scenes is nopt nascar!!!!
    Nice to see Denehey again have enjoyed many of his characterizations thru the past 3 decades.


  11. Aris Fuckthelastaname

    This movie it’s a copy of the “Anything for her” a french film back in 2008….
    and actually a bad copy….as always with the pathetic thriller makers of hollywood…
    how many times we will watch in a film the whole world destroyed by a police guy or in the name of love?
    How many times you will watch a film just because has action without even real “Actors” who can support the movie just with their skills??

    Its Up to YOu! i call them “tin Movies”
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1217637/

    Hasta Pasta


  12. Sitterpatsy

    The button was there.  The cop missed it.  Lara didn’t do it.



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