A Pittsburgh college professor (Russell Crowe) reels as his wife (Elizabeth Banks) is arrested, tried, and convicted of having murdered her boss; when the appeals process is exhausted, the devoted husband hatches a scheme to spring her from the massive Allegheny County Jail so they can flee to South America with their young son. Remaking an 84-minute French thriller, Pour Elle, writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash, In the Valley of Elah) stretches the action to more than two hours, tracking the husband’s arduous self-tutorial in prison security and his rocky moral journey as he learns to function in the underworld. Yet the characters are so vivid that the suspense never lags. Crowe is best in buttoned-down roles like this one, and he holds the husband’s fear and resolve in balance; Banks, best known as a comedy love interest, gives a striking performance as the increasingly unhinged wife, who may or may not be guilty. With Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, and Daniel Stern.
The Next Three Days
PG-13 • 2 hours 2 min • 2010