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Friday, December 17, 2010

[5.50/10] The Next Three Days (2010)


The Next Three Days (2010)

In "The Next Three Days", life seems perfect for John Brennan until his wife, Lara, is arrested for a gruesome murder she says she didn't commit. Three years into her sentence, John is struggling to hold his family together, raising their son and teaching at college while he pursues every means available to prove her innocence. With the rejection of their final appeal, Lara becomes suicidal and John decides there is only one possible, bearable solution: to break his wife out of prison. Refusing to be deterred by impossible odds or his own inexperience, John devises an elaborate escape plot and plunges into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, ultimately risking everything for the woman he loves. Academy Award-winning film director Paul Haggis' latest thriller "The Next Three Days" disappoints with slow and uninvolving first half, genuine lack of intensity and surprisingly incoherent plot. However, after a dull and rather boring first half, "The Next Three Days" into a fairly gripping thriller, that while hardly plausible, succeeds to entertain its audience, as it moves along at much brisker pace and offers more action. Paul Haggis is not on the top of his game here, and it shows. He's direction is muddled, labored, unimaginative, and often confusing as he fails to bring the thrill and excitement - the obligatory elements of this genre. The action and chase scenes are very few and far between, but they're well-staged, nicely-shot and interesting to watch. Acting-wise, "The Next Three Days" is also a mixed bag. One of the most overrated actors in film history, Russell Crowe, turns in a rather flat performance as John Brennan, a frustrated, yet determined man who desperately tries the impossible to free his beloved wife. Crowe definitely possesses some charm and he has a strong presence, but yet, his trademark awkwardness, blank face and expressionless eyes, make him seem a bit stiff and uncomfortable on screen. I've always wondered why everybody finds him a great actor. Elizabeth Banks is a notch-better as John's possibly mis-accused wife, as she successfully conveys hope, anger and despair, but yet her performance is a bit too neurotic and over-the-top at times, and is therefore not completely satisfactory. "The Next Three Days" features a great cameo by Liam Neeson, who spends only 5 minutes on screen, and yet his appearance remains truly memorable. Moderately engrossing and fairly well-acted, yet incredibly uneven, unimaginatively-shot and mostly thrill-free, "The Next Three Days" is nothing more than just a hit-and-miss thriller, that has the ambition to deliver, but never fully manages to absorb the audience into the story.

17 comments:

J-SON said...

Same sentiments, I also thought of it as a 6/10 previously. AHA

Vapor said...

I was really unimpressed by it as well.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

This one just didn't intrigue me.

Nebular said...

J-Son, for me 5.50 is more 5 than 6, as I consider 6 stars rating as 'average at best', ant this one was slightly below that.

Nebular said...

Vapor, you have all the rights to be :)

Nebular said...

Alex, me either, but I still decided to give it a shot. I even bought a ticket to watch it on big screen. Ah, silly me :)

Melissa Bradley said...

Russell Crowe is an automatic rental for me. The only time I ever saw one of his films on the big screen was Gladiator. I actually loved that film. Paul Haggis,unfortunately, writes a better thriller than he directs one.

Nebular said...

Melissa, dear, you're so right about both, Crowe and Haggis, though I absolutely loved "Crash". I found it very touching and beautifully-crafted. Never been a huge fan of Gladiator... I just wasn't was impressed as everyone else was.

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

Well I'll be the odd man out here and say it's one of the best Russell Crowe films since 3:10 To Yuma. Definitely the best thriller he's been in, and as a Crowe fan I've been rather unimpressed with the group of thrillers he's done over the last couple years. For me this is right up there with Taken, this film would have done better at the box office had it not come out the same week as Harry Potter, but it did manage to make up its budget and then some with overseas viewers. I consider this another "A Good Year" (also starring Russell) another film I loved, critics and viewers slammed, hardly made anything at the box office (US that is) but is completely not deserving of the cold shoulder.

Nebular said...

As much as I respect your opinion, I have to disagree with you on Crowe and his film. His ONLY great performance was in "A Beautiful Mind" a decade ago, where his stiffness and awkwardness helped him to portray perfectly the character he was given. "A Good Year" was okay for me, and I was bored to death with "3:10 To Yuma" thought the film was generally well-made. I'm sorry, but he's just not my cup of tea. I'm not trying to convince anyone that he's not good, and this is just a personal opinion. How did he get an Oscar for his role in "Gladiator" is still a mystery to me. Anyway, thank for the comment :)

Nicole✗✗ said...

Oh I was afraid this one might suck. I totally agree that Russell Crowe is an overrated actor-I find him so uninteresting. Although, to be honest I did like him in "A Good Year".

Dempsey Sanders said...

Ahhhh George, I watched this the other day and I really liked it. Was a bit gutted Liam Neeson wasn't in it more being my only real gripe.
You surprised me here, thought you would have liked it too, but one of them movies I guess where opinions will be vastley different.
Thanks for the post, interesting to read your thoughts on it.

Nebular said...

Glad to see you share the same opinion about Russel, Nicole :) I'm not saying that he can't act, I just don't find him to be great as most people think. I loved him in "A Beautiful Mind" as I already said, but overall, he's just a decent actor - nothing more, nothing less.

Nebular said...

Demps, really? Sorry, buddy.. I juse found it unbelievably uneven and hardly absorbing. The second half was million times than better then the first, though, and I enojyed it. Haggis defeinitely needs a new editor, as this one did a pretty terrible job with the editing. We have pretty similar tastes in general, but of course that we can't agree on every movie. It would be weird, if we do :)

Dempsey Sanders said...

Yes definately theres always the possiblity we never going to share the same opinion on every movie, just shocked like you say we normally feel the same ha ha. But I definately agree with you the second half was much better, and editing could of been done better too.
Like I said before, because you felt entirely different about this movie it made it more interesting for me thats why is still very much enjoyed the read.

Nebular said...

Glad you agree with me, Demps ;)
Well, as you can see I gave it an average rating, so it means that I didn't hated it that much. I wasn't completely satisfied with the performances and Haggis' muddled direction - that is :) Otherwise, I found it to be moderately entertaining ;)

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

Well I have to completely disagree with calling Crowe "stiff and awkward". The guy is one of the few actors out there today who is completely capable of pulling any role off, look at his history of films, no two characters are a like. I should I know I've watched and reviewed every film he's made! While he's definitely made his share of stinkers, the guy has more talent and range than most of the "actors" out there today. Whether you like him or not as an actor is really neither here nor there, but if you can't see his talent then it's not even worth debating.

A Beautiful Mind is my 2nd favorite Crowe film, a film he should have won an Oscar for, a performance which essentially lead the film to be nominated and win the number of Oscars it did. His performance is far from stiff or awkward. My favorite is Cinderella Man, another fantastic film and performance.

I get it's popular to sluff Crowe off now a days (all the critics like to slam him and his films, he was the golden boy in 2000 and when he showed he wasn't interested in being another Hollywood type most can't say a good thing about him) but it still amazes me that people don't even want to recognize or admit the guy has talent, personal tastes aside.