Monday, August 29, 2011

The Next Three Days Movie Review

If I had to use one word to describe the movie “The Next Three Days” it would be ‘uncomfortable’.  This can be either good or bad.  In the case of this movie, I would have to say good.  It isn’t that I liked feeling uncomfortable, but it showed that the director took a novel approach to a jail break movie.   In fact, the movie made me feel uncomfortable in a way I hadn’t felt since seeing the movie Crash.  I wondered if there were a connection between the two movies, and they just so happen to be written and directed by the same person, Paul Haggis.    The only other movie I watched recently that made me feel uncomfortable was “The Road”, but the difference between those two movies is that I didn’t want to finish The Road, but couldn’t stop watching The Next Three Days.  I actually finished it at 1 AM.   So here is what the movie is about, a cute couple, Russel Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, with a 3 year old boy have a dinner out and then come home and it is obvious they are in love.  The next morning, as they are happily preparing for the day, the police barge in to arrest….the beautiful young blonde wife.  There is your first curveball.   You then realize that whatever happened to her, she has been away from home for 3 years.   Yup, she is in prison having been convicted of the murder of her boss.  Her husband is the only one that believes her innocence.  They have exhausted their last appeal and she tries to kill herself, unsuccessfully.   Crowe then becomes desperate himself as he realizes that his wife really won’t ever be released.   There are references to Don Quixote bending of reality to meet his own needs, making the viewer believe Crowe is doing the same thing about his wife innocence.    Crowe then interviews a person that escaped from prison 7 times under the guise of writing a book.  The escapee, Liam Neeson, quickly realizes that the interview is not for a book, but for personal reasons, so he gives him all the how-tos of escaping.  Based on this interview, Crowe begins to work on his plan.   Here is the first level of discomfort because your realize that this father is risking his relationship with his son to free his wife.   As a viewer, you don’t want him to take such a risk, especially when you don’t know whether the wife really did do it or not.    A formula Hollywood movie would then progress from this point with the husband putting together some sort of precise and outlandish escape.  Since this doesn’t follow the formula, this movie takes you on a nauseating journey of Crowe’s misfortunes.  He tries to get fake IDs and gets robbed and beaten in the process.  He researches how to create a master key, and when he tries it in the prison as a test, it breaks, and he almost gets caught.  Crowe leaves the prison and pukes in the front.   As a viewer, you just keep hoping that Crowe will realize how stupid and risky it is.  There are moments where you think maybe he will reconsider his plan.  The temptress Olivia Wilde is introduced at a playground.  She seems attracted to Crowe.  You think maybe Crowe will be tempted and forget about his wife.  Nope.  To this point in the movie, Crowe has only done things on the periphery of illegality.  He hasn’t crossed the point of no return.  When he finds out that his wife will be transferred to another facility in 3 days, he becomes desperate as he doesn’t have the funds needed to do the escape.  Liam Neeson’s character advised him he would need 5 years worth of cash on hand.  And since the sale of his house hadn’t gone through yet, he only had enough money for a couple of weeks.  Now Crowe is brought to the brink and you as the viewer are cringing again as he prepares to rob a bank.  At the last moment, he changes his mind, and you breathe a sigh of relief.  That is until you realize he is going to rob a meth lab instead.  Now he is crossing the legal line, but you as the viewer must say that his crime is against criminals, is it still a crime.  While robbing the meth lab, a gun battle ensues in which one man is shot dead and another is shot dead by his own gun.  Crowe has committed murder.   Do you offer an excuse because of his cause?  As a viewer, you are uncomfortable with having to make that choice.  With cash in hand, he begins the breakout, but now that there is a crime scene, the cops are hot on the trail.  As I have given so much away, I will not give away the conclusion.   But I do give it a two thumbs up for making me so darn nervous all the way through. 

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