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Haggis and Crowe's The Next Three Days Yields Mixed Early Reviews

by Sophia Savage
November 17, 2010 8:36 AM
4 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood


The remake of French thriller Pour Elle, The Next Three Days, Paul Haggis's third feature as a director, screened last night at the Directors Guild of America. A round-up of early reviews and the trailer are after the jump.

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."


4 Comments

  • C.A.Woodward | November 18, 2010 4:55 AMReply

    I agree with your other respondent some of the negative criticism seems to have more issues with Paul Haggis and Crash winning Best Picture when Brokeback Mountain was the critics favourite.

  • rossijames | November 18, 2010 3:39 AMReply

    Im sure Hollywood critics hate Russell Crowe and Paul Haggis. They never forgave Crowe for not being part of the Hollywood BS and his earlier antics. And Haggis because he took the Best Picture oscar away from their beloved Brokeback Mountain. This film is good and Crowe is wonderful in it. Go see it!

  • je pressman | November 17, 2010 11:54 AMReply

    The Next Three Days action scenes are fine. Actually the action scenes in Salt with Jolie were harder to accept. How about Ms.Jolie leaping from a bridge onto the top of a moving vehicle with narry a bruise to show for it. The movie is not too long ,running at alittle more than two hours.Critics are predisposed to NOT like certain films,perhaps that is the case here. Also Chang /Variety liked Due Date but not TNTD,really? So Banks looks good in the movie,well if she didn't there would be complaints her plainess as there was with Cate Blanchett in Robin Hood,Edelstein had harsh comments about her looks in that film. Haggis is a good filmaker and Crowe is always worth seeing.

  • Sergio | November 17, 2010 11:24 AMReply

    Inspite of all the far fetched coincidences and impausibiites in the film I really liked it. Having seen the French original as well, Haggis' version is rather self-conscious. Clearly he was out to make THE MOST IMOPRTANT MOVIE OF THE YEAR, but I still thought it well put together and I found myself really pulling for Corwe and Banks to make it. (Though my friend who I saw it with still couldn't believe how Banks could have maintained her "level of hotness" despite being in prison for three years)

    And it's much better than In the Valley of Elah or Crash (talk about OVERRATED)

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