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The Next Three Days – Review

16 Jul

Thrillers are a difficult genre for me because these movies have to be really good for me to enjoy them. If they move too slow, I get bored. If they move too fast, the suspense lacks. This made me have a feeling that I wasn’t going to be too into The Next Three Days , but I actually really did, despite a few plot contrivances and implausible scenes.

John (Russell Crowe) and Lara (Elizabeth Banks) Brennan are living the American Dream complete with fine jobs, a comfortable house, and a young son. This is all ripped away in a matter of hours when Lara is abruptly arrested from their home and charged with murder. All the evidence points to Lara’s guilt, but John refuses to accept that, and after years of appealing to the courts he decides he’s going to have to get Lara out on his own. John soon finds himself planning not only a breakout, but a new life and fending off the criminal underworld getting closer to his front door.

The intriguing thing about this movie is that it isn’t about politicians, spies, or criminals (for the most part). Our protagonist is just an English teacher at community college. Crowe’s character starts out as just a confused and broken man, torn to pieces by the accusations made towards his wife. However, over time, we get to see him evolve into a man who is willing to do anything to save her. This may sound overused or cliché, but the way it is done in a slow paced and meticulous way makes me believe in this evolution.

The plot begins to collect more and more contrivances as it nears towards the end, but the do not have to do with Crowe’s character. The beginning of Act 3 introduces to new characters who are detectives and on John’s trail. They not only figure out what he intends to do but does so in a manner of minutes (no spoiler here). If we got to travel with these characters and were shown over the course of the movie how they worked, then I wouldn’t have a problem. As it stands, the writing for them is just pretty lousy.

Although the writing for these characters is pretty bad and half-assed, the rest of the screenplay is exciting and well crafted. One of the hardest things to write for with a thriller movie (or any movie in general) is a correct pacing that will keep the viewer engaged. The smart dialogue and character development and relationships were enough to keep me going, along with the gripping and dramatic story.

But all of this would hardly mean anything if it wasn’t acted well, and Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks put their all into their roles and shine. Crowe displays the correct balance of sadness and anger, which drives him, along with the love for his wife, to attempt to break her out of prison. Elizabeth Banks isn’t in a lot of the movie, but her time onscreen is powerful enough to make her a memorable character. Great performances all around.

I’m glad that I can find thrillers that excite me, because it is a really cool genre. Unfortunately, are bores, like State of Play, which also stars Russell Crowe. This is something entirely better. I cared about the characters, their plight, and the outcome. There are also great nail biter scenes that will make the most avid film goer nervous with anticipation. If you’re a fan of thrillers, Crowe, or prison break stories, The Next Three Days is just for you. Hell, check it out anyway. It’s worth it.

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