“The Next Three Days” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Next_Three_Days) is directed by Paul Haggis and stars Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. There are also appearances by Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde. Having Banks and Wilde in the same movie provides for some great eye candy. Crowe , on the other hand, is becoming a bigger star- literally.
The movie was filmed in Pittsburgh and concerns a loving husbands attempt to rescue his unjustly imprisoned wife from life of incarceration. The main part of the story involves Crowe’s meticulous planning for and implementation of a prison-break plan. The plot is full of holes, and for the most part, stretches credibility. But it does have some great qualities. Did I mention Banks and Wilde? But seriously, I was very troubled by the moral ambiguity of the story. I have led a life seeing mostly gray, so moral ambiguity is an old friend. But here, Crowe and Banks are nice people, but I didn’t know enough about them to like them. So when Crowe develops his plan to rescue his wife, he is willing to take the lives of others (undesirables, yes, but people nonetheless) in an effort to recapture his wife and family. After he killed the thugs, I found his situation less compelling. In addition, I wondered how he ever thought that his family life could ever be untroubled in the future after what he had to go through in order to save it. It’s like our foreign policy where we believe that the way to save another country is to destroy it.
There is one scene where Banks demonstrates her acting chops. She is in an elevator after he recently sprung her from a civilian hospital. She has a look of fear in her face when she looks at Crowe that is so believable and compelling. I felt her terror. Maybe to get into the mood she was contemplating what would happen if Crowe fell over on her.
The soundtrack was quite good. The music by Danny Elfman fit the grittiness of the film’s image. There is one song, I believe by Moby, which has his trademarked sadness and gloom. It was also fitting for the subject matter.
It’s been about an hour since I saw the film. I still feel anxious- so maybe the film was a success in spite of itself.