Film Review: The Next Three Days (2010)

A married couple is alone in their home with their young son when a large group of policemen break into their living room.  Before they even know what happened, the wife is arrested for murder.  Three years later, the wife is still in prison and has made an attempt at suicide.

Meanwhile, the boy, who now attends elementary school, is growing without the care of his mother.  The father believes that his wife is innocent, and he manages to continue life with very few opportunities to see her.  But when he learns that his spouse is being transferred to a distant prison facility, the troubled community college teacher decides that he can no longer see his wife suffer.

Interviewing an escaped convict (played by Liam Neeson), watching YouTube videos to learn to pick locks, and purchasing forged passports, he prepares in every possible way for the chance to free her.  But what if his wife did murder as she was accused of? The powerful part of The Next Three Days is that the man doesn’t know that his wife is innocent, but instead, he relies on who he knows she is; and he knows without a doubt that the woman he married isn’t a murderer.

There are precious moments in this wonderful action thriller when we are shown, thanks to great performances, the complicated emotions of the characters and the motives behind their actions.  What we seem to uncover is that these people are very much like us.  And for this reason, the audience cares about John Brennan and his family.

Our attachment to the Brennan family makes each plot twist and moment of suspense more dramatic than the average action film.  This makes the film entertaining and moving, but it is usually pointed out by the movie’s critics that the story is too unbelievable.  I too doubt that such events could take place, however, I found the realistic characters to be enough to balance any absurdity.

The Next Three Days is not action-packed, but there is great suspense. It seems to last forever, but it proves to be completely worth it.  I honestly did not expect such a seemingly average thriller to be so memorable.

Rating: 4.5/5

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