The domestic idyll of high-school English teacher John (an endearingly pudgy Russell Crowe), his wife Laura (Elizabeth Banks), and their young son is shattered when she’s arrested for the murder of her boss. Convinced of her innocence and out of legal options, mild-mannered John engineers a daring prison break, with some advice from a grizzled veteran prison escapee (a marvelous cameo by Liam Neeson). Despite a few missteps — a misjudged opening scene and some wildly improbable action elements — The Next Three Days, like deeply thoughtful Crash screenwriter-director Paul Haggis’ other films, is made with style and conviction and infused with a deep mistrust of authority. It’s a conventional but heart-thumping thriller (a remake, in fact, of a French movie called Pour Elle), but Haggis renders it with moody lighting, elliptical storytelling, emotionally affecting performances, evocative night views of the hilly streets of Pittsburgh, an unusual cast of street hoodlums, and more red herrings than the menu at Katz’s Deli.
Director: Paul Haggis
Writer: Paul Haggis and Fred Cavayé
Cast: Liam Neeson, Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Jonathan Tucker, Brian Dennehy, RZA, Lennie James, Jason Beghe and Moran Atias