Next Three Days, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy and Liam Neeson. Suspense/drama. Written & directed by Paul Haggis.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Life seems perfect for John Brennan (Russell Crowe) until his wife, Lara (Elizabeth Banks), is arrested for a gruesome murder she says she didn't commit. Three years into her sentence, John is struggling to hold his family together, raising their son and teaching at college while he pursues every means available to prove her innocence.  With the rejection of their final appeal, Lara becomes suicidal and John decides there is only one possible, bearable solution: to break his wife out of prison.  John devises an elaborate escape plot and plunges into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, ultimately risking everything for the woman he loves.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Like with a classic Hitchcock thriller, I was hooked from beginning to end. Everything worked for me – the smart script, the mood, the pacing, and especially Russell Crowe’s performance. Well, I say, everything – sadly, it also has the two culprits inserted into most intense films that hinder my complete enjoyment – the jiggly hand-held camera and the lackadaisical use of God’s name or Christ’s in order to relay frustration anger and fear. It’s a shame, as this is good filmmaking, directed with an intensity that causes us to stay glued to the screen. I can deal with the bobbing camera, but it’s hard to recommend a film that shows little regard for our Creator.

It’s difficult to find a DVD alternative that contains gripping storytelling without the objectionable language unless I go back to before the Motion Picture Rating System was introduced. Two generations have grown up since the MPAA’s inception, and since then, movie content has progressively become more abusive and more profane. So, if I mention Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man starring Henry Fonda and made in 1957, eyes will roll and most will ignore the suggestion. Too bad, because Hitchcock unnerves with this tense drama concerning a man falsely accused of a robbery. Is there anything scarier than the thought of being falsely incarcerated? I understand why many of today’s moviegoers would find it more offbeat and less volatile than most of today’s action thrillers, as it deals with its story in a more character-driven, almost documentary style. But that’s what makes it more frightening. Fonda plays an average Joe, not a MacGyver. But, I know, it’s old. And we wouldn’t want to watch an old movie, when there are so many new and delightful ones in the theaters. (Sarcasm: a cutting remark often disguised as a sincere observance.)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Four or five obscenities.

Profanity: Two profane uses of God’s name, three of Christ’s.

Violence: Sseveral violent acts, including a jolting scene where a woman nearly commits suicide by opening a moving car door, a man is beaten by thugs, shootings occur in a drug dealer’s hideout, other shootings; a sudden entry by police, an act that frightens a child. Blood: Some blood with shootings and beatings.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A brief sexual conversation.

Drugs: Occasional social drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 101 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and above

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