Apparently Lionsgate, who distributed ‘The Next Three Days’, was hoping for the ‘Harry Potter’ overflow of people who wanted to see ‘Deathly Hallows’ but found out that all of the showings were sold out – both opened films on November 19th. The movie stars Russell Crowe who is one of those actors that elicits two types of responses; one, those who love him really love him, two those that hate him hate him with the energy of one million suns plus one. I actually love Crowe, but could in the future change my tune if he happened to throw a telephone aimed at my head.
I liked ‘The Next Three Days’, but I do have to say that it was giving me anxiety on such a level that I kept checking my watch to see how much more of it I was going to have to take. In fact, it isn’t the sort of film you know that you like or dislike until it is over and you can reflect that it was directed, written and acted well. (Paul Haggis directed as well as wrote the screenplay with Fred Cavaye.) Until that time you debate if you actually like the characters enough to hope they succeed with their endeavors.
The story revolves around a husband facing life without his wife who is in prison for a murder that she may or may not have committed. He is raising their only son who is starting school and realizing that not all other mothers are in prison for murdering their boss. Along the daily grind John Brennan (Crowe) endures as a professor of English at a community college of which he spends a good chuck of his time trying to prove his wife is innocent. Eventually, if you have seen the previews, he is forced to do something drastic.
I thought Crowe was good as the mild mannered man who sticks by his wife through thick or thin. I also thought he was sexy even though he wasn’t ‘Gladiator’ sexy nor even Capt. Aubrey (from ‘Master and Commander’) sexy – he has morphed more into Grover the Muppet sexy, a type of sexy that if you thought he was heartthrob worthy in his prime you still feel flutters, but if you didn’t feel anything for him then, now you just think he has really let himself go. It was nice to see Elizabeth Banks in a more dramatic role, although she has proven she can do comedy and was Laura Bush in Oliver Stone’s ‘W’. She really didn’t have all that much to do besides look super glamorous before being arrested and looking super sad and rather plain Jane while in prison. Liam Neeson has a tiny part which audiences wouldn’t expect if they have seen the previews. It has also been years since Brian Dennehy was seen in a theatrically released film. I hope movie audiences see more of him. Ty Simpkins as the son was great and I’m sure that audiences will be seeing him in various roles in the future. Olivia Wilde plays the mother of a girl who has Ty’s character wrapped around her little finger – you go girl, bat those eyelashes and make him give you his Oreos!
Although I recommend seeing ‘The Next Three Days’ I think it would play better on DVD (it comes out on March 8th) than it does in the theater. I believe the distractions that come with home viewing makes the anxiety, I at least felt, more palatable.
Westerfield © 2010