Friday, August 26, 2011

The Next Three Days (2010)

     I am going to do everything in my power to keep this brief.  The Next Three Days (2010) is an old-school kind of caper movie, with an attempt at some high energy moments in the final act.  It is not entirely successful, largely because the characters – save Liam Neeson's brief appearance as jailbird-turned-author Damon Pennington and Daniel Stern's turn as attorney Meyer Fisk – are all are presented as wooden, mostly unemotional beings.  It is not unlike the restrained manner Daniel Craig affected in Enduring Love (2004), but it applies to all of the character, with Russel Crowe's John Brennan only given three scenes where he has some human level of emotion showing.
     There is a certain level of non-commitment to the whole thing.  Brennan doesn't know how to go about doing what he wants to do, but figures it out in time to keep the movie going.  The police officers are neither the bad guys or co-sympathetic protagonists, but cut-scene filler.  The action is almost – with the exception of a ridiculous FX sequence on the road – as restrained as the emotion in the film.  Sometimes that really works and gives it a grounded feel, and it never draws stark contrast against the play of the characters.
      I feel kind of ambivalent about this movie.  I think that Pittsburgh deserves better than this, Striking Distance (1993) and Sudden Death (1995); maybe that is Taylor Lautner's new movie.  Yes, I know who Taylor Lautner is (the shirtless guy from the Twilight movie commercials, and thus presumably the movies as well).  Back to the point.  This is a decent, consistently paced movie that delivers a mildly interesting story in a competent manner.  Yes, it could have been much better, but it isn't bad enough for me to bad mouth it.  I'd say C+, and think that if it were allowed to drift a little more towards the melodramatic it could have been a solid B.

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