07 June 2011

Movies: The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1458175/

This thriller/drama stars Russel Crowe as a community college teacher and Elizabeth Banks as his wife (aka the Brennans). We first meet them they seem like a happy perfect couple together with their son. But oh-ho! Early on in the film Banks is arrested and convicted of killing her boss. Brutally. Caving in her skull with a fire extinguisher. Unfortunately for Banks she had just argued with her boss that day, her fingerprints are on the extinguisher, and the boss's blood is on Banks's coat. Crowe loves her so much he refuses to believe she is guilty. After exhausting her conviction appeals over the course of three years Crowe decides to bust her out of the county jail before she's moved to prison, then flee the country.

Supporting cast includes Brian Dennehy, Liam Neeson, Daniel Stern, Jason Beghe, Olivia Wilde, and a few more recognizables. The cast did well, everyone solid in their performances.
Gonna take a moment to tip the hat at Elizabeth Banks. I like her - she's versatile. She can deliver great comedic performances and great dramatic performances. Crowe did the Crowe thing. He's good at it.

Despite a couple leaps in cop intuition that were necessary for the drama to continue to ratchet up plus an obvious fact foible for any Mythbusters fan*, for the most part the film stayed within the realm of reality.  Well there is one hanging out the car door at highway speed thrill that pushed it.

Pacing got a little sloggy in the second act.  If one considers act one the intro to the family and her arrest, act two = planning stage, and act three = executing plan breakout, act 2 feels about an hour long and we don't get to act 3 until about an hour twenty minutes into the 2 hour film. Yeah - I was starting to get antsy during act 2. But once act 3 got going I forgave 'em.

Here's where I have to stop, though, without spoiling the film concerning the failure or success of the breakout, or things Crowe may or may not have to do during the planning stages.  I can't even point out, contrast, or ask questions about moral ambiguities and such without spoiling the film. I don't want to ruin the experience for folks, I do want to impress that I didn't feel the film was a waste of time to watch.
A good story plotted well, acted well, filmed well, plus a couple of tugs to the ol' heartstrings if you like havin them tugged. What more can you ask for?

An entertaining thriller worthy of the ol' Friday Night Popcorn Night slot. I liked it.

* Curious about the Mythbusters reference? Okay. In a couple scenes Crowe uses the old "hole in tennis ball pressed against car door lock = unlocked door" trick. Of course Mythbusters already busted that for all the folks out there who thought the technique even approached plausibility. And if you're not a fan - here ya go:

P.S. concentrating on writing a review is very hard to do when the wife's MP3 player starts churning out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN62PAKoBfE

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