The Next Three Days

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The Next Three Days
The Next Three Days Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul Haggis
Produced by Michael Nozik
Olivier Delbosc
Paul Haggis
Marc Missonnier
Screenplay by Paul Haggis
Based on Anything for Her 
by Fred Cavayé
Guillaume Lemans
Starring Russell Crowe
Elizabeth Banks
Brian Dennehy
Olivia Wilde
Liam Neeson
Daniel Stern
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Stéphane Fontaine
Edited by Jo Francis
Highway 61 Films
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date(s)
  • November 9, 2010 (2010-11-09) (New York City)
  • November 19, 2010 (2010-11-19)
Running time 133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[1]
Box office $67,448,651[2]

The Next Three Days is a 2010 vigilante thriller film directed by Paul Haggis and starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. It was released in the United States on November 19, 2010 and was filmed on location in Pittsburgh.[3] It is a remake of the 2008 French film Pour Elle (Anything for Her) by Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans.[4][5]


Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) is convicted of murdering her boss after an altercation at work and is sentenced to life in prison. Following the failure of her appeal, Lara's husband John Brennan (Russell Crowe), a professor at a community college, becomes obsessed with the idea of breaking her out of jail, while their son Luke[6] ceases to acknowledge her during their prison visits, saddening Lara. One day, she attempts suicide, and tells John that she cannot survive a life in prison. John promises that this won't be her life.

John, intent on breaking her out, consults Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), a former convict who successfully escaped from prison seven times and wrote an autobiography about it. Damon, although reluctant to help him since he has turned away from his life of crime, advises John to study the prison where his wife is, saying "every prison has a key". Damon tells John to ask himself if he can "be that guy" who knocks over an old lady or shoots a cop if it's the difference between escape and getting caught. Damon also warns him that the initial escape from the prison will be easy compared with avoiding capture after the escape, and explains what to do:

  • He must obtain the false passports, new social security numbers, a handgun, and save up as much as money as he can.
  • After a successful escape, they must escape to a country that does not extradite American citizens back stateside and with a relatively low number of American citizens.
  • Since the 9/11 attacks, town security has been incredibly increased, and after breaking her out of prison and the first call, he has only 15 minutes before the city center is closed up, also counting 35 minutes for all interstates, secondary roads, train stations, docks and airports being closed.
  • He must also question his motives and bravery, and he has to question himself for his preparation to make unmoral or unethical choices in a split-second (killing a person, leaving his son unprotected and alone, etc.)
  • If the plan fails, they have to surrender or they will be shot on sight.

To ensure her escape, he hatches several plans; he obtains a handgun and learns to use it, and obtains false passports and new social security numbers after a few attempts. He also takes a map of Pittsburgh and studies it to find shortcuts and places to escape out of the city in under 15 minutes, and wide areas in under 35 minutes. To obtain the money, he sells most of his furniture as well as some personal belongings. But when he's told that Lara will be transferred in 72 hours to another prison facility in the north, he becomes desperate and is forced to come up with an emergency plan to ensure her escape.

Unable to get the money from his house sale, he tries to rob a supermarket, but he quits at the last minute. Instead, on that night, he robs a drug lord and sets his meth lab on fire before fleeing the scene. He then falsifies and plants blood work results indicating that his wife is in a state of hyperkalaemia, so she is transferred to the hospital, since he intended that. He follows the ambulance and helps her escape although she is doubtful and reluctant, motivated only by the idea of her son being raised without either parent.

Even though John carefully planned busting Lara out, the police are hot on John and Lara's trail through a series of chases. He tears his maps down and stuffs them into several garbage bags before leaving to rescue Lara, leaving one bag in the trash outside his home, and the rest in a dumpster some blocks away. As it turns out, he did this selectively to misguide the detectives regarding their final destination. They have an uncomfortable moment at passport control, as a Canadian officer examines their passports and glances at the page of photographs showing people to stop, but he allows them to pass. The shift changes, and as they walk down the hall, their photos are added to the list. An international flight is delayed, but the Pittsburgh police fall for his ruse.

At the end of the film, the family ends up safe in Caracas, Venezuela. Back in the United States, a detective who had attempted to catch Brennan returns to the scene of the crime although it had been some years since the crime occurred. Using his forensic skills, he constructs a scenario for what might have happened in which the killer of Lara's boss was a mugger, as she claimed in open court. He remembers Lara saying a button popped off as she passed the mugger, and notices that it is raining just as it had been the night of the murder. He tosses a piece of paper in the current where the button would have fallen off, and it leads into a storm drain. He searches the storm drain but is unable to find the button. It turns out the button was there, buried under grime, and the detective just missed it. The last shot of this detective shows him turning back toward the drain.



Pour Elle[edit]

The Next Three Days is a remake of the 2008 French film Pour Elle (Anything for Her) by Fred Cavayé.[4][5]

The plot of Pour Elle involves a teacher, Julien (Vincent Lindon), who experiences difficulties when his wife (Diane Kruger) becomes a suspect in a murder investigation and is arrested;[4] Julien does not believe that his wife is guilty of the crime, and attempts to remove her from the prison.[4] Pour Elle was Cavayé's directing debut.[4] The film was one of the main attractions of the Alliance Française French Film Festival in 2010.[7] Cavayé explained the plot and motivation for making the film, "We wanted to make a real human story about an ordinary man doing an extraordinary thing because he's faced with a miscarriage of justice. The film also talks about courage- saying how you show courage depending on the situation. In France, for example, there were good people who did not go into the Resistance against the Germans."[7]

Cavayé told The Age regarding the remake of the film by Haggis, he is eager "to be a spectator of my own film".[4] The director commented on the news his film would be remade by Haggis, "It's a strange feeling. I wrote this story in my very small apartment in Paris. When I saw my name next to Russell Crowe on the net, it was amazing."[7]


In October 2009, Haggis and his staff were in the principal photography stage of production filming in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[3][6] On October 4, 2009, filming of the movie was ongoing and was set to complete on December 12, 2009.[8] On December 14, 2009, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that filming of The Next Three Days was going to wrap that day, after 52 days of shooting.[9]



In October 2009, the film was originally scheduled to be released in 2011,[10] by March 2010, the Australian media company Village Roadshow was set to release the film in Australia in November 2010.[11] It was released in the United States on November 19, 2010.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Russell Crowe was nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award for Best International Actor for his role as John Brennan.[12]

The Next Three Days received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 52% based on review from 161 critics, with an average score of 5.9/10. The critical consensus is: "Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks give it their all, but their solid performances aren't quite enough to compensate for The Next Three Days' uneven pace and implausible plot."[13]

Roger Ebert awarded the film two and a half out of four stars and said, "The Next Three Days is not a bad movie; it's just somewhat of a waste of the talent involved."[14]

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #5 with a weekend gross of $6,542,779 from 2,564 theaters for an average of $2,552 per theater. It closed on January 6, 2011, having earned $21,148,651 domestically. The film grossed a further $46,300,000 overseas, for a worldwide total gross of $67,448,651, making it a modest success against its $30 million budget.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fritz, Ben (2010-11-18). "Movie projector: 'Harry Potter' to conjure up one of the biggest opening weekends of all time". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Next Three Days". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  3. ^ a b Ortega, Tony (October 2, 2009). "Post-Xenu Beghe Reveals TV's First 'Mangina'". The Village Voice (Village Voice Media). Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "First impressions that linger". The Age ( March 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  5. ^ a b The Belfast Telegraph staff (October 7, 2009). "Vintage year in store for Liam Neeson". The Belfast Telegraph (Independent News and Media). Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  6. ^ a b Bauknecht, Sara (2009-10-02). "Jail plays a role in Russell Crowe movie". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ( Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  7. ^ a b c Maddox, Garry (February 26, 2010). "Universal language". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Michael (October 4, 2009). "Liam Neeson filling his 'Days': Actor joins Haggis-directed thriller for Lionsgate". Variety (Variety). Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  9. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (December 14, 2009). "'The Next Three Days' production days in Pittsburgh come to an end". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications). Retrieved 2009-12-20. .
  10. ^ WPXI staff (October 8, 2009). "Russell Crowe On Set At Allegheny County Jail". WPXI. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  11. ^ Bodey, Michael (March 24, 2010). "Indian extravaganza a juicy win for rival capitals of film". The Australian ( Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  12. ^ Niall (January 11, 2011). "The nominees for the 8th annual Irish Film and Television Awards are in". Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Next Three Days Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 17, 2010). "The Next Three Days :: :: Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 

External links[edit]