Monday, 3 January 2011

The Next Three Days (2010)

It seems like forever.

Image: Lionsgate

In true Hollywood style, director and screenwriter Paul Haggis is back with a rehash of a foreign film less than two years after the original’s release. The Next Three Days, a remake of the French thriller Pour Elle (Anything For Her), follows desperate husband John (Russell Crowe) as he plots to free his wife, Lara (Elizabeth Banks), from prison, where she’s serving a 20-year sentence for murder.

A success and a failure in equal measure, the film follows much of the same timeline as the original; however, it boasts a longer running time to highlight what appears to be nothing of real importance. Drawn out scenes of John learning how to become a hardened criminal using “How to…” guides and Crowe generally just plodding along, carrying a few extra daddy pounds, isn’t of much interest, nor do we care an awful lot about the enamoured couple (Crowe and Banks) as their demeanour suggests that they’re not really bothered either.
In addition, Haggis has turned the film into a “did she/didn’t she?” murder mystery, which is pointless if you’ve seen the original.

Not to berate the movie completely (as it doesn’t deserve it), there are moments that make The Next Three Days worth watching: the hospital getaway is nicely detailed, a trip to the zoo, which includes a spectacular car stunt, is beautifully constructed and the convenient relationship John develops with the mother of his kid's playmate adds a sprinkling of comedy that’s welcomed.

The remake has received the Hollywood treatment which renders it less charming and intimate than the original, but some stunts, the expansion of previously underdeveloped scenes and the odd joke give it the vigorous boot that Pour Elle is missing. That being said, in an ideal world, an amalgamation of the two films (Anything For Her in the Next Three Days) would be the perfect movie.


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