A schoolteacher’s wife is imprisoned for first degree murder based upon circumstantial evidence and when the final appeal fails and she resorts to a suicide attempt, he pours all his skills as a researcher into engineering a meticulous plan to break her out.
Very much in a similar vein to TV series Prison Break, The Next Three Days has the premise of an ordinary and honest man resorting to extreme measures when faced with an untenable situation. It’s not as convoluted as the series however, concentrating more on the human drama than histrionics; in fact the inevitable mix of wobbly-cammed screeching tires, helicopters and cop dodging is easily the least interesting part of the film. Some will be disappointed at the lack of action, especially considering the trailer which was clearly cut together to make it look like another dim-witted action thriller for the ADHD generation; I personally am a fan of Paul Haggis’ more subtle and human approach to the thriller formula which dispenses with the usual associated macho bullshit and pointless running around with guns. As a result it feels a lot more plausible and realistic – at least until the rather unlikely finale – and you actually care what happens to the characters thanks to a strong performance from Russell Crowe as the desperate husband and father.
It does stall somewhat near the conclusion and never really gets back into gear, but the intelligent approach makes it a cut above the usual Hollywood fare.