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The Next Three Days

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Fred Cavayé’s popular 2008 French prison-break melodrama ‘Anything for Her’ becomes a terse, overly serious, character-driven potboiler in the hands of Paul Haggis, the writer-director of ‘Crash’ and ‘In the Valley of Elah’. The plot – Russell Crowe’s browbeaten family man finds his life falling apart when his wife (Elizabeth Banks) is convicted of murder and decides to bust her out – promises high-stakes drama and high-octane action, so it’s a shame that it takes ‘The Next Three Days’ well over an hour to get going. When it does, the film is gripping, intense and highly enjoyable. But it’s a long, tough slog to get there.

It doesn’t help that Haggis has chosen to set the film in the wintry industrial wasteland of Pittsburgh, restricting his palette to concrete grey and muddy brown. He reins in his actors to a frustrating degree: what should feel like tight-lipped realism comes off as merely half-hearted, leaving some early scenes – such as one in which Crowe meets multiple escapee Liam Neeson for coffee and deep research – feeling flat and perfunctory.

But in the third act, both Haggis and his actors kick it into high gear, leading to a breathless chase sequence, the outcome of which is unpredictable to the last moments. We know Haggis is a filmmaker who takes his craft terribly seriously. But in ‘The Next Three Days’, a sense of portentous joylessness cripples what could have been a satisfying genre thriller.
Written by Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 7 January 2011
  • Duration:132 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Paul Haggis
  • Screenwriter:Fred Cavayé, Guillaume Lemans, Paul Haggis
  • Cast:
    • Liam Neeson
    • Russell Crowe
    • Elizabeth Banks
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