Movie Review: The Next Three Days
Posted by: Mark Nichols
13 Mar 2011
Warning! The following article contains some spoilers about the movie “The Next Three Days.” And if you’re expecting a great article about this movie, you should not expect to be spoiled.
I had seen a preview of this movie some time ago and remember thinking it could be full of action. To my recollection it was billed as an escape-from-prison kind of movie. Of the 2 hours and 2 minute running time, the last 40 minutes or so are the escape. But for about the first hour I wanted to escape.
The opening scene is of the main characters (names are unimportant) at dinner talking about the wife’s argument with her boss that day. There’s an extremely uncomfortable conversation with the husband’s brother’s wife or girlfriend, whoever she is. No need for detail - it's just awkward. All you really need to know is that this scene and many others reveal that there isn’t much of a connection between the husband and wife. Yet the next day (or was it later that night?) when the cops came to arrest the wife for murdering her boss, the husband got all angry and physical with the cops in a show of protecting the wife (perhaps to convince us that he’d never believe she was guilty - that their love was really strong).
After she’s convicted for murder, years pass and the appeals fail, and everyone believes she did it. There’s even a scene later in the movie where she admits as much to her husband. Regardless, his love for her is too strong and he still refuses to believe she’s guilty. So he’s going to break her out of prison and escape with their son and live far away for the rest of their lives.
In the process he becomes a pretty much totally unlikable person, even going after a meth lab owner to steal some money. He non-fatally shoots said drug maker in a show of manhood and eventually kills him as said drug guy fires back. Supposedly it’s okay to kill if it’s someone associated with drugs. And after all, he was being shot at (although he instigated it). He leaves finger prints all over the place, even leaving another drug seller guy who died as a part of the brouhaha at a bus stop.
When the cops start to figure out what happened, it’s part of his Prius’ tail light that gives him away and not the shell casings, finger prints, and whatever other evidence would be more reasonable to identify him.
The process to escape is worth watching. The dedication and nervousness he feels as he learns how to execute the escape are interesting. Although there's the requisite big writing of obvious things like when people have to cleanly circle something stupid. Here's an example:
In the end a couple of detectives wonder if in fact the wife had been innocent (she was), but it’s not like it should matter – the husband is now a killer. But I believe this scene is in the movie attempting to let us know that everyone can sleep peacefully at night. But the husband shouldn’t be able to.
Final verdict: Skip at least the first 20 minutes. Try to pretend the husband and wife love each other - that there’s no greater bond in the universe - and hold on tight until you get to the interesting stuff.