Time is of the Essence

The Next Three Days

 

Paul Haggis’s directorial debut The Next Three Days makes for an absorbing thriller about a family torn apart by the conviction and imprisonment of the mother for murdering her boss. Haggis uses his trademark non-linear structure first seen in his Oscar winning film Crash, by setting up a scene of John Brennan played with surprising coolness by Russell Crowe driving through the darkened Pittsburgh streets with a dying man in his backseat.

Elizabeth Banks plays Lara Brennan incarcerated in the County Jail in Pittsburgh without hope of an appeal for her life sentence.

Not having much faith in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system, Brennan plans a daring jailbreak for his wife and an eventual escape of them and their young son from America.

In a brief scene, Liam Neeson makes a cameo guiding Brennan in the time constraints involved in breaking his wife out of a city jail. Pittsburgh is the perfect setting for this thriller with the city’s central business district consisting of a  triangular tract carved by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. Pittsburgh ‘s urban county jail where Lara Brennen is situated, makes for a more difficult escape. Neeson sketches out that in 15 minutes the inner city will be cordoned off and in 30 minutes all the major airports, and transport nodes will be shut down as the authorities search for the Brennan’s who become fugitives on the run.

The Next 3 Days is divided up into 3 sections and the pace of the film increases as the daring escape plan unfolds and takes on fruition. Whilst Banks, seen in Zach and Miri Make a Porno is essentially a comic actress does a great turn as a convicted mother, but a more accomplished actress like Naomi Watts or Nicole Kidman would have added more severity to the psychological trauma of a mother, being incarcerated and kept away from her husband and son. Haggis makes John Brennan the pivotal character, a quiet and self-absorbed Literature professor beautifully played by Russell Crowe with the story focusing more on the escape plan, than the lingering question of Lara Brennan’s innocence only to be answered in the final scenes of the film. Haggis deftly opens up a universe of questionable morality and raises the issue of how far a person would go to free their loved one in a justice system which automatically assumes guilt over innocence.

In this morality, The Next Three Days is similar to the 1996 film, Before and After directed by Barbet Shroeder, who followed on from his success of the Oscar winning film Reversal of Fortune, featuring Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons.

Claus von Bulow, I presume?

All films deal with families who are torn apart by a mother, son or father who has been accused of murder and the consequent questions of guilt and innocence which naturally surround such crimes. Crime and Punishment remain an enviable topic for any filmmaker especially in the context of the modern nuclear family. Paul Haggis does not leave any loose ends plot wise making his commercial directorial debut a thrill to watch.

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2011
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28  
  • China Unveils Golden Rooster Awards Nominees, to Surprising Jibes
    China has released the list of nominees for its upcoming Golden Rooster Awards, a set of government-approved film industry prizes that it wants to be seen as rivaling the Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, historically considered as the “Chinese-language Oscars.” The winning Roosters will be announced amidst a film festival running Dec. 28-30 in the port […]
    Rebecca Davis
  • ‘Pen15’ to End With Season 2 on Hulu
    “Pen15,” Hulu’s comedy series created by Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, will end with its second season. The remaining episodes of the now final season will debut on the streamer on Dec. 3. A Hulu representative confirmed the news to Variety, stating that Erskine and Konkle “feel the story they wanted to tell has come to an […]
    J. Kim Murphy
  • Music Industry Moves: Berklee Establishes Al Schmitt Engineering Scholarship
    Berklee College of Music has established a scholarship named after Grammy Award-winning engineer Al Schmitt. The fund was created by the school’s Music Production and Engineering Department and seeded with a $50,000 gift from the endowment fund of former Berklee faculty member Wayne Wadhams, who played a key role in building the department, beginning in […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Gotham Awards 2021 Winners List (Updating Live)
    The 31st annual Gotham Awards is a key stop in the awards season marathon, especially for lower-budget indies looking for some traction for the Oscars race. However, not every likely Oscar contender found itself up for Gothams, including “The Power of the Dog,” “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and “The Harder They Fall,” as they exceeded the […]
    katieesong
  • Muse Entertainment Hires Alex Jordan to Serve as Senior VP of Production
    Muse Entertainment Enterprises has tapped film and TV vet Alex Jordan to serve as its new senior VP of production. Jordan, who starts on January 1, will be based in Toronto and focus on producing programming for the international market. Jordan most recently served as a producer on Paramount Plus’ “Mayor of Kingstown.” He also […]
    varietyschneider
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90