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The Next Three Days (2010)


Lara Brennan (Banks) is convicted of murdering her boss after an altercation at work and after a trial is sentenced to life in prison. Following the failure of her appeal, Lara’s husband John Brennan (Crowe), a professor at a community college, becomes obsessed with the idea of breaking her out of jail, while their son Luke ceases to acknowledge her during their prison visits.

John consults Damon Pennington (Neeson), a former convict who successfully escaped from prison seven times. Damon advises John to study the prison where his wife is, saying “every prison has a key”. Damon also warns him that the initial escape from the prison will be easy compared with avoiding capture after the escape. To that end, John must obtain false passports, new social security numbers, and a “truckload of cash” to have a chance of success. Damon also suggests going to an unpopular foreign country for Americans where they cannot be deported back to the U.S. should they ever be discovered there. John learns Pittsburgh’s time to lock-down the city’s exits after a call is made to do so: 15 minutes for the city center and 35 minutes for all interstates, secondary roads, and stations or airports. Damon Pennington tells John to ask himself if he can really “be that (bad) guy” who knocks over an old lady or shoots a guard if it’s the difference between escape or getting caught.

John contemplates several ideas that don’t pan out and is defeated more than once, but latches onto a solid plan and the necessary paperwork after some painful efforts. He robs a drug lord and sets his meth lab on fire before fleeing the scene. He does so to have enough cash when he’d eventually escape with Lara. He then falsifies and plants blood work results indicating that his wife is in a state of hyperkalemia, and she is transferred to the hospital. He follows the ambulance and helps her to escape although she is doubtful and reluctant, motivated only by the idea of her son being without either parent.

With the police getting some lucky breaks, they are hot on John and Lara’s trail through a series of chases. Throughout the film, John is shown assembling maps, photographs, notes, and other papers on a wall of his house. He tears them down and stuffs them into several garbage bags before leaving to rescue Lara, leaving one bag in the trash outside his home, and the rest in a dumpster some blocks away. As it turns out he did this selectively to misguide the detectives regarding their final destination. They have an uncomfortable moment at passport control, as a Canadian officer examines their passports and glances at the page of photographs showing people to stop. He allows them to pass. The shift changes, and as they walk down the hall, their photos are added to the list. An international flight is delayed, but the police were after the wrong destination.

At the end of the film, the family ends up safe in Caracas, Venezuela. Back in the United States, a detective who had attempted to catch Brennan returns to the scene of the crime although it had been some years since the crime occurred. Using his forensic skills, he manages to put together what really happened. It turns out that the killer of Lara’s boss was really just a mugger (as she claimed in open court), and a series of coincidences led to Lara’s conviction. He remembers Lara saying a button popped off as she passed the mugger, and notices that it is raining just as it had been the night of the murder. He tosses a piece of paper in the current where the button would’ve fallen off and it leads into a gutter. He searches the gutter but is unable to find the button to prove Lara’s innocence. It turns out the button was there, buried under grime and dust, and the detectives just missed it.


Crime | Drama | Romance | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, drug material, language, some sexuality and thematic elements


Official Sites:

GAGA [Japan] | Kinowelt [Germany] |


USA | France



Release Date:

10 December 2010 (Indonesia)

Also Known As:

Les trois prochains jours

Filming Locations:

Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,542,779 (USA) (21 November 2010) (2564 Screens)


$21,129,348 (USA) (2 January 2011)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lionsgate, Fidélité Films, Hwy61 See more »

Technical Specs


133 min  | Portugal: 132 min

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital  | DTS  | SDDS

Did You Know?

Paul Haggis and Olivia Wilde share the same birthday.

Elizabeth Banks had previously played a family woman accused of murder in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The telephone and fax numbers on the labwork are the actual numbers for Med-Health Services in Monroeville, PA, a real medical lab facility.

The labwork that John scans with his iPhone shows the director’s as “JP Jones, M.D.”. John Paul “JP” Jones was the property master for the film.

The “bump key” technique used by Crowe does actually work as portrayed, on cylinder locks.

When the family is going through airport security, a picture of Osama Bin Laden can be clearly seen on the agent’s computer screen as part of a gallery of wanted criminals used to screen passengers.

John prints an ad for a helicopter pilot posted on Craig’s List. It was dated October 14, 2011.



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