I had many reasons to be unhappy with this film, yet I ended by being reasonably satisfied with my action movie selection. So what makes The Next Three Days work? It starts as a happy_family_meets_hell film (when the beautiful wife of an English teacher is accused and condemned for urder), flirts shortly with the court drama, then it turns into a reversed version of Convinction, with Russell Crowe playing the role of Hilary Swank . Then the last third is pure action, with very little credibility, as the way the hero tries get his innocent (maybe) wife out of prison is traditional escape and not decades of fight within the legal system.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1458175/

 

Sure, Russell Crowe is a good actor, Elizabeth Banks is not bad either, and director Paul Haggis already proofed in a couple of (better) films that he knows how to build characters and a compelling story around them. Yet, this film has all the chances to run into routine, there is nothing new or unexpected in its story line.

 

(video source ClevverMovies)

 

I believe that what saves The Next Three Days from failing is that the script and the director left in the story and the way it is told some ambiguity. We never know whether the woman is really innocent, the flashbacks are there not to clarify but to murk what really happened the night of the crime that triggered the events. Even if we assume (as the husband does) that the woman is innocent the act of escaping justice (and so many good cops chasing the couple and their kid) leaves viewers with a sense of morality in quite an uncomfortable solution. Director Haggis did not have a brilliant script at hand from screenplay writer Haggis. So he put into the direction a grain of uncertainty that is more realistic than all the rest of the story and saves the film. Because life itself has a grain of uncertainty.