the fresh films reviews

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The Next Three Days (2010)

Paul Haggis
The Next Three Days
122 minutes
Michael Nozik
Olivier Delbosc
Paul Haggis
Marc Missonnier
Paul Haggis
Fred Cavayé

Cast includes:

John Brennan Russell Crowe
Lara Brennan Elizabeth Banks
George Brennan Brian Dennehy ˝
Nicole Olivia Wilde ˝
Lieutenant Nabulsi Lennie James ˝
Detective Collero Aisha Hinds
Meyer Fisk Daniel Stern ˝
Luke Ty Simkins
Mouss RZA
Detective Quinnan Jason Beghe
Alex Kevin Corrigan
Damon Pennington Liam Neeson
Sergeant Harris Allan Steele



The Next Three Days is the third film helmed by writer-turned-director Paul Haggis, and his work here has the same urgency, drive and insight into human endeavours which characterized his first two entries, Crash and In the Valley of Elah. Through clever use of narrative jumps, flashbacks, and mood-setting scenes, it tells the story of a small family whose life gets turned upside down when the mother (Elizabeth Banks) is arrested and convicted for the murder of her employer, leaving the father (Russell Crowe) and son alone mourning and yearning for the woman of their lives.

The film is tactfully constructed as a mystery, and is constantly intriguing in this respect, much due to Haggis' gently revealing storytelling, but likewise due to Elizabeth Banks' enigmatic acting. Still, the question whether the mother is guilty or not isn't the main focus of The Next Three Days, because to our protagonist, the father, played with conviction by a rejuvenated Russell Crowe, this is a non-issue. He is well aware of the fact that his life is disintegrating without his wife. As it turns out, the young son copes far better with the loss of a mother than he does with losing his wife – to no big surprise to the man himself. The film's both thematic and moral core is John's determined struggle to reunite his family – by any means necessary. The implicit ethical discussions around this are extremely interesting, and Haggis handles them skilfully; letting the potential controversy shine through without ever letting his characters down. The effect is harrowing and – more remarkably – deeply romantic. Forget about the light rom-com approach; The Next Three Days is probably the most romantic film of the year.

Yet again, Paul Haggis has made a film which investigates the deepest human emotions and the sturdiness of our interpersonal relations, and yet again has he done so without foresaking the film's entertainment value. Much in the vein of the comparable The Fugitive, The Next Three Days is constantly and purposefully moving without feeling rushed or too plot-driven. It may be one of this year's big sleeper hits.


Copyright © 24.3.2011 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang