The Next Three Days (1 star)

The Next Three Days

Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks star in unremarkable thriller representing low for writer/director Paul Haggis

(12A) 132min

This unremarkable thriller represents a low for writer/director Paul Haggis, who not so long ago was being showered with Oscars for his work (Million Dollar Baby, Crash). It’s a remake of Fred Cavayé’s Anything For Her from 2008, and while it’s easy to understand Haggis’s desire to delve into the story’s moral grey areas for himself, he so completely smoothes over any rough edges in this retelling that he blunts every potentially interesting aspect of the film.

Russell Crowe gives a bland performance as John Brennan, an ordinary schoolteacher and family man who takes the law into his own hands when his wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) is found guilty of murder and sentenced to long-term imprisonment. Convinced of Lara’s innocence, but lacking evidence, Brennan concocts an elaborate break-in scheme that leads him into increasingly desperate and potentially criminal actions of his own.

Despite working from his own script, Haggis seems unsure whether he’s directing a fun action romp or a serious moral drama; this ends up being neither. The highlight is an unintentionally hilarious cameo from Liam Neeson as a grizzled veteran prison-breaker.

General release, Fri 7 Jan.

The Next Three Days

  • 1 star
  • 2010
  • US
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Paul Haggis
  • Cast: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde, Liam Neeson

Crash writer/director Haggis' retelling of 2008's Anything For Her is not his finest work, with a disappointing performance from Crowe as a schoolteacher whose wife is found guilty of murder. The tone is confused and any potentially interesting rough edges are completely ignored, rendering the film remarkably bland.