4.5 out of 5
(In other words you can stop reading the rest of the review and go purchase tickets now)
First and foremost, I have to make clear The Next Three Days is perhaps the single best crime movie I have seen in a long, long time. In my heart, it has a place beside Leon and The Godfather.
A two hours 15 minutes crime/thriller flick, The Next Three Days is about one man’s love for his wife, and the lengths he’ll go to see her free from her imprisonment. It stars Russell Crowe of Gladiator fame, Elizabeth Banks and co-stars Liam Neeson. It is based on the 2007 French movie Pour Elle (Anything For Her).
The Next Three Days lacks the awesome shoot-outs present in Takers and car-chases of The Town. In place however, the movie had an undeniable human element to it. John Brennan, Crowe’s character in the movie, is not a professional criminal who is seasoned to the fear of getting shot or apprehended. Rather, his character — which was portrayed most masterfully I must add — is that of a simple university lecturer and a family man who has a seven-year-old kid to worry about.
This constant show that Crowe is human is present throughout the entire film, when he gets robbed, when he plans a robbery, when he decides to actually do said robbery — it’s constantly there and hence, there is this constant, underlying tension that is felt throughout the movie. This is further complicated by his ailing relationship with his incarcerated wife who is slowly breaking down mentally, all in all creating a unique motivation in Crowe that is fuelled by desperation and love for his wife and kid.
The majority of the movie builds up the tension, focusing on Crowe’s planning, preparations and minor illegal experimentations, sprinkled with moments of disbelief as he gets alternate solutions from libraries, Youtube and of course, the internet. Like the climax of classic symphony orchestras, the tension built up over the course of the movie is released in a crescendo that sees Crowe using the surgical use of misinformation, wits, guts coupled with blind luck to escape his pursuers and reach a safe haven outside of the United States.