John Brennan (Russell Crowe) is an English teacher at a Pittsburgh community college. After going out for dinner with his wife Lara ( Elizabeth Banks) one night, their life is destroyed when police barge into their house in the morning while they are having breakfast and going about planning their day. In a tumultuous scuttle, the police arrest Lara for murder of her boss and haul her off. John is left caring for their young son. He tries to continue with this life while his wife goes through the legal process. He is one hundred percent confident that she is innocent, but the evidence against her is daunting and she is convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
When John realizes that she will never get out, he starts plodding to bust her out of prison. But how does a college teacher with no experience “in the streets” even start such an endeavor, let alone pull it off. His careful forays into the underworld of Pittsburgh don’t always succeed and he learns one hard lesson after another.
The Next Three Days is a nice thriller movie that kept me riveted, but also sometimes confused. It seemed like the action was moving faster than I could follow, and I often asked myself questions on how one scene related to the next. Here is a case where I would have added another 30 minutes to the footage. It would not have slowed down the movie. It could have given it more depth, more clarity of plot and better transitions.
The acting is excellent. Liam Neeson has a small but well casted role. There are chase and escape scenes reminiscent of the Bourne movies with Matt Damon, but more earthy and realistic. If I were chased by a police force bent on locking down the city around me, I would bumble and mess up like John Brennan does – probably much worse – and that gives it all a realistic flavor.