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Vol. LXIV, No. 47
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

CAN YOU HELP MY WIFE ESCAPE FROM PRISON? The desperate husband John Brennan (Russell Crowe, right) resorts to seeking help from an ex convict Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson). Damon has established his creditability as an expert on breaking out of prison by performing the feat seven times. He sagely advises John that even more difficult than escaping is not being caught afterwards.

The Next Three Days: A Desperate Husband Resorts to Desperate Measures

Kam Williams

Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) met her husband John Brennan (Russell Crowe), and his parents for dinner after a particularly difficult day at work. As they sat down for dinner she proceeded to vent about how much she disliked her boss Elizabeth (Leslie Merrill). She was clearly still visibly agitated over an argument the two had had earlier in which she had referred to Elizabeth as a “useless cow.”

So, when the woman’s body was found bludgeoned to death in their office building’s parking lot later that evening, it didn’t take the police long to name Lara as a person of interest. She subsequently became the prime suspect and was arrested as soon as the police found her fingerprints on the murder weapon and traces of the victim’s blood on the coat that she had worn that night.

Given the overwhelming evidence, the accused was convicted by a jury and given a long sentence in prison. Since not even her lawyer (Daniel Stern) believed Lara’s alibi, it’s not surprising that she lost all of her appeals.

John Brennan is at his wit’s end. He will now have to raise their young son (Ty Simpkins) alone while his wife, whom he believes to be innocent, is in jail. John is convinced that Lara is incapable of committing such a heinous act even if the legal system has concluded otherwise.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Therefore, the law abiding college professor consults an ex-con Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson) — who has broken out of jail seven times — for advice about how to spring Lara. “Escaping is easy,” the wily felon warns. “The hard part is staying free.”

John heeds those wise words as he proceeds to hatch an elaborate plan, focusing as intently on the details of how the family will flee the country as he does on freeing Lara. This is the intriguing story that is told in The Next Three Days, an edge-of-the-seat morality play which builds in intensity every step of the way to its exciting conclusion.

Based on the French film Pour Elle, this remake ratchets up the tension while delicately posing thought provoking ethical questions. The picture was directed by Paul Haggis, winner of a couple of Academy Awards for Crash.

What makes this film riveting is how it keeps you guessing not only whether John’s scheme will succeed, but whether or not Lara is guilty. It’s almost impossible to tell if John is just too deep in denial to see the truth, or if Lara has been wrongfully convicted.

The movie is a high octane thriller that plunges you headlong into a roller coaster ride with a desperate man’s conscience as your only guide.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, sexuality, drug use, and mature themes. Running time: 133 Minutes. Distributor: Lionsgate Films

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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