“The Next Three Days” - Movie Review

Some people just let life happen to them. Others fight for what they believe.

John Brennan believes his wife is innocent.

John (Russell Crowe) is a typical loving father who teaches at the local community college. While his wife is an emotional spitfire, John is patient, rational and loyal. He’s like a teddy bear - not the type of man to fly of the handle. Except, when he becomes desperate.

One morning after his wife gets in a fight with her boss, the police barge into the Brennan’s home to arrest Lara (Elizabeth Banks) for murder. All evidence, her fingerprints on the murder weapon and the victim’s blood on her coat, points to Lara as the killer. Should be a closed case, right?

After three years of appeals, John refuses to believe she is guilty.  The thriller style movie is actually a veiled love story. John is a man who loves unconditionally. No matter what the evidence says or the fact that everyone thinks Lara is guilty, he continues to stand by his wife. Taking justice into his own hands, he risks everything to free her from the county jail in Pittsburg – a place where no one has successfully escaped alive.

The film resembles the theme in John Q where ethics are thrown out the window for the sake of love. Sometimes a person has to play dirty when life hands them a bad card.

But Lara is sketchy. It is debatable whether she can be trusted. And while John is admirable, desperation breeds disillusioned people. The film centers around the question, “What if we choose to believe in a reality purely of our own making?” So the audience continually wonders if Lara’s innocence is actually a false reality concocted out of John’s desperation.

The film gears your sympathies towards John, not Lara. The audience only hopes for Lara’s freedom for John’s sake. But while the audience feels sorry for John, not everyone is in his corner. If you are not a rockin’ a “Go, John!” t-shirt, then you are sitting with a gavel as his judge.

Even if it Lara’s sentencing is truly a “wrong place at the wrong time” situation, the majority of people do not believe John’s unethical tactics in obtaining her freedom are justified.

Yes, he killed some drug lords (but seriously, they had it coming) and created false identities (may be excusable) . . . and stole an enormous amount of money (okay, flat out wrong). But freedom comes at a price. The film is a prime example that not everything in life is perfectly sliced into black and white pieces.

Shades of gray concerning ethical situations always spark conversation; so if anything, the film will leave you talking. Whether The Next Three Days ends with John Brennan as your hero or you on a soapbox about morality, the acting is well done and the storyline is compelling. . . . Personally, I was ready to give the man a high five.