When you think of Russell Crowe, you probably think of Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, or 2016’s The Nice Guys. These are all fantastic movies, some even major award winners. All a great way to spend an afternoon, but Netflix has recently added one of his more underrated films to streaming: The Next Three Days. The plot of this one asks questions about how far you’re willing to go for your spouse. If you’re a mild-mannered teacher with a hot-headed wife, and you really believe she didn’t violently murder her boss, would you read some books on famous prison breaks, level up, and go break her out of prison?
The Next Three Days is a remake of a 2008 French film Pour Elle, which translated means Anything For Her. The American version came out two years later in 2010. Genre-wise, it starts off more of a crime story but evolves into an action-thriller as Russell Crowe’s character levels up his skills and changes his demeanor due to desperation and concern for his wife. The movie also has a fair bit of drama and romance. It stars Elizabeth Banks in the role of the wife/possible murder. At the time of The Next Three Days, Elizabeth Banks wasn’t a name many of us knew.
In the story, Russell Crowe is clearly the only man who believes his wife is innocent. He goes down the route of appeals, but that isn’t working. Then, their son is suffering, and his wife becomes suicidal. He has reached a point where he doesn’t believe he has other options, but he won’t let her go. Like the French title says, Anything For Her. This is when Russell Crowe decides to get in touch with Liam Neeson, an ex-con and escape artist. In the movie world, no one has a better set of skills than Neeson, making him an excellent choice here.
They work together to create a plan, and we get to watch Russell Crowe go from that calm college professor to a man who needs a weapon and some fake passports. This is where the movie really becomes a thriller and Crowe’s character changes as he needs to cross some moral lines if he really wants to get his wife out of prison.
The American version was both written and directed by Paul Haggis. It was based on the material for the French version by Fred Cavayé. Haggis was also the mind behind the scripts for Crash and Million Dollar Baby.
How do people like The Next Three Days? Well, Russell Crowe fans don’t often rank it as his very best movie, but they don’t rank it too low down on the list, either. While critics were a bit blah about this thriller, it’s rated fairly well on IMDB with a 7.4 At the box office, this movie earned a respectable $67.4 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. This isn’t one of the billion-dollar earners that begins a franchise, but it clearly earned out. It may have been easy to miss this movie though in 2010 when Russell Crowe also had Robin Hood come out, one of his most popular movies of all time.
This isn’t the only Russell Crowe movie to recently land on Netflix. The 2003 movie, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, was also recently added to the service. Proving Crowe is around and reads his Twitter replies, he responded when a musician tweeted saying the movie was too long and boring. In this fittingly brief Twitter review of the first ten minutes of the movie, the person decided to tag him. This is generally considered rude on social media when you’re complaining about a person. Crowe responded to defend the movie and the work of the director Peter Weir. He had this to say:
This is one of those things you can always appreciate in an interview with Russell Crowe. He seems to really work with his directors and appreciate the crew. They’re not his movies. They belong to everyone he worked with.
That being said, if you felt Master and Commander was a bit slow, you might appreciate the thriller elements of The Next Three Days for your Netflix queue. Both movies are fairly long. Master and Commander has a run time of two hours and twenty minutes. The Next Three Days is two hours and ten minutes. Watching Crowe break the law for his wife can speed those hours up for you though. It’s very much worth the watch and just once again highlights Crowe’s awesome range as an actor.