Action Movies, by Ajay Singh, 01 April 2011

Director: Paul Haggis

Stars: Brian Dennehy, Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Jonathan Tucker, RZA, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde

Country: USA | France

Runtime: 122 min

Release Date:

Language: English

Official Site: The Next Three Days Official Site

The director of the film The Next Three Days, Paul Haggis, made a strange choice to remake a recently released French thriller, Pour Elle (Anything for her) starring Diane Kruger and Vincent Lindon and directed and written by Fred Cavaye based on a story by Guillaume Lemans.

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days

The screenplay is solid but not very original and it is hard to say what exactly this group of Oscar winners and nominees found so appealing in it. Although Haggis claims to have rewritten the script, he follows the French version down to the smallest details most of the time. The wife is convicted of the murder of her boss in a parking lot with a fire extinguisher. Although fingerprints and blood stains lead to the unfortunate wife we are told in a flashback that it was not her (maybe sooner in the French version than in the American one). As nothing can be proved the husband starts learning the ways of criminals, bank robbers, drug dealers, and passport fakers to break her out of jail and out of the country. Although an ordinary man without any criminal inclinations in the past, he learns the business very fast and makes surprisingly few mistakes. In the end the family is happily reunited together with a baby son and flees the country (US or France) with a big lump of drug money.

The plot looks predictable yet impossible. What can be seen as its main redeeming quality is that it ends well.  In fact, a viewer does not want anything else in the end but to see the happy family on a beach under the inevitable palm trees on a mattress stuffed with banknotes. With no character development, method acting, artistic light and camera, art direction, etc. all the public may get satisfaction from is the embarrassment of state officials and happiness of the escapees whether they are guilty or not.

The acting is solid but less tense and emotional that in the French version. The American remake is somewhat more pretentious with no real merit. For example, Brennan is shown teaching Don Qiuixote to his college class. The attempted comparison is transparent. Do we have Crowe playing one of the most tragic figures of all time? – No.  This reference probably made Haggis feel smug because he added another “deep layer” to the more down to earth French version.

What saves the film is editing. The rhythm is great, the suspense is there all the time, the action sequences are not overdone. Good timing keeps you on the edge of your seat most of the time and you do not want or expect any psychology or philosophy to be built into the film’s tissue. All you want is the scene on the beach. Overall the film is satisfactory fun of reasonably solid quality.

The Next Three Days [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Actors: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde
Director: Paul Haggis
Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Surround Sound
Language:
Subtitles:
Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Running Time: 125 minutes

List Price:
Price: £4.61
77 offers available from £0.79
4.4 out of 5 stars (190)

The Next Three Days Videos

The Next Three Days Trailer

The Next Three DaysStills

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days

Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks in The Next Three Days

Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks in The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days

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