Haggis proudly announced the film (he cast two of his daughters and his son in it), and thanked composer Danny Elfman and leading man Russell Crowe (both in attendance), the latter of whom presumably took off his sunglasses once the lights went down. In the few seconds of darkness before the screen lit up, Haggis joked "this is the suspense part." There were a few chuckles, then 133 minutes of film (around half of which are slight variations of this photo). Applause followed, despite a movie that had a predictable formula ending, what will become known as the "car door scene," and Elizabeth Banks' hair and makeup miraculously looking better and better despite a plot that demanded otherwise.
There was no Q & A. In this interview with the BBC, Haggis and Crowe said that the film is a love story; both touted the theme of a man changing who he is--and becoming someone his wife will no longer like--in order to save her. "How far you would go for love, would you change who you are?" said Haggis. Crowe responded to a question on whether his bad-boy image has changed with age by saying that he isn't sure that he ever deserved the title, and "certainly can't compete with the likes of Charlie Sheen." Haggis thinks that he could.
Early reviews are mixed:
Mark Keizer of Box Office Magazine: "To get anything out of this overlong, underwhelming nonsense, think of it as a blow against the wimpification of the American male." Justin Chang at Variety decides: "What was briskly diverting in the original has been rather laboriously overworked, and the film's attempt to draw out the moral stakes never addresses the material's basic, surface-level implausibility."
Todd McCarthy at THR: "For a combination of reasons -- including moderate overlength (133 minutes where no more than two hours were called for), a certain lack of desperation at the core of Crowe's performance, the want of an unsettling mercurial nature in Banks' character that would have really made you wonder about her at times and an uncharacteristically conventional score by Danny Elfman -- the film only rarely rises above the competent. The carpentry of the script is all too evident, and the few surprises and kicks reside only in the plotting, not at all in the way the film was made."
Melissa Anderson at The Village Voice: "Like his lumpy protagonist, Haggis, who also scripted this remake of the 2008 French thriller Pour Elle (never released stateside), too confidently assumes viewers are as quick to abandon sense and logic."
Prairie Miller at NewsBlaze: "Unlike Conviction, this film opts out of DNA/exoneration heartbreak as a triumphant dramatic tool, and goes directly for the post-9/11 paranoia, righteously rebellious jugular instead. So is one man's terrorist another man's Russell Crowe? You bet."