Friday, November 19, 2010

A Lot Happens Quickly in "Next Three Days"

By Skip Sheffield

Russell Crowe as Mr. Mom?
For awhile that’s what it seems like in “The Next Three Days,” which stars Crowe as tweedy Pittsburgh college English literature teacher John Brennan, married to a lovely, young, temperamental and diabetic Lara (Elizabeth Banks).
This is a Paul Haggis film however, and things won’t remain peaceful for long. We see Lara lift a fire extinguisher from under her car as a woman rushes by and squirts some blood on Lara’s coat.
These seemingly inconsequential actions will change the life of Lara, John and their young son.
One evening the police smash their way into the Brennans’ cozy suburban home, seize and handcuff Lara and haul her off to jail, accused of the brutal murder of another woman.
No matter that the evidence is circumstantial and superficial, Lara is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
For three years John Brennan goes about his daily routine, quietly seething about the injustice of it all. Then one day after Lara attempts suicide he snaps, and after advice by successful escapee Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), Brennan decides to go all out spring his wife from prison.
“The Next Three days” is an adaptation of the French film “Pour Elle” (Anything For Her), written by Fred Cavye, who collaborated with Haggis (“Crash”) on the American version.
This is a very complex, interwoven, scene-shifting prison break movie, but with split-second timing, chases, gunfire and crashes aplenty, Haggis keeps the viewer on the edge of the seat. It is fun to see a movie set in Pittsburgh, and Haggis makes use of every unique location the city has to offer. If you can brush away the logical and logistical problems of the plot, “Next Three Days” is an exciting, suspenseful rapid ride to an unexpected destination.

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