Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Next Three Days

As Clark, Brian, and I headed to the movie theater last night, I wasn't completely sure about the wisdom.  Yes, I go to late movies alot, and yes, on weeknights.  But I had gotten a short night's sleep the night before, and this 11:00 movie was schedule to run over two hours.  Would it keep my attention?  Or would it become a $9 nap?

It was no contest.  There was never a time in the course of the next 2 hours where I was not on the edge of my seat.

As the trailer above illustrates, The Next Three Days was promoted for the action and tension of an escape attempt.  Lara Brennan (portrayed by Elizabeth Banks) is arrested and convicted of a murder her husband John (Russell Crowe) is sure she did not commit.  The evidence is overwhelming, and ultimately John feels compelled to break her out of prison and flee the country.  I expected the movie to center on the action of the escape and the flight.  I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it spent most of the time building the tension as John first experienced the hopelessness welling up, and then plotted every detail of the coming escape attempt.  Some might call that slow (and some reviews did).  I call it gripping, and masterful.  I was spellbound by the script, the building pace, and Crowe's acting.

The most compelling scene of the movie took place in the home of John's parents, and had no action.  It was powerful, and exemplified the brilliance of the film.  It featured one of the great actors of our time, Brian Dennehy, in a small role.

(Side note:  I've always been a fan of Dennehy, but especially after I got to see him on the Broadway stage in 1998.  I was privileged to see him perform the role of Willy Loman in the stage production of Death of a Salesman.  It was magnificent.)

When I saw early in the movie that Dennehy was playing the role of John's father, I knew there would be a scene to watch out for.  You don't put an actor of that caliber in a movie just for a warm body.  The promise was fulfilled as John was picking up his little boy from his parents' house the evening before the escape attempt.  His father (Dennehy) saw the plane tickets and realized what was up.  He knew he might never see his son again.  I cannot adequately describe the power of what took place next as he came face-to-face with John, possessing that knowledge.  And I wouldn't want to, because I would not want to spoil the experience for you.  Let me just say that the movie is worth seeing for this scene alone.

So...how far would you go for those you love?  When you make a decision that will affect the rest of your life, do you count the cost?  John Brennan had to.  If you really want to know what that means (or if you just want a captivating two hours of entertainment), see this movie.

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