The Next Three Days Blu-ray Review
The Next Three Days comes to Region A-locked US Blu-ray with a quality 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.35:1. Detail is generally very good throughout, retaining clarity for the majority of sequences, with only a few drops into negligible softness, and most of these more as a result of the gritty stylisation than a defect of the transfer. Digital issues are almost non-existent – there’s no edge enhancement and no significant issues, with only a minor amount of barely noticeable crush affecting the otherwise solid blacks. The colour scheme is mostly given a blue hue, with intentionally high contrast, and as a result the tones represented often come across as marginally, but stylistically, skewed. Still, there are moments of deep, vibrant colour, and the more standout moments of bright yellows and rich reds show the deceptively broad range on offer here. Overall it’s a good, if not quite demo quality video presentation.
On the aural front the movie comes complete with a top notch DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that does its utmost to keep you engaged for the fairly long build-up to the tense climax. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, despite the fact that Crowe is on spectacularly mumbly form, largely emanating from across the frontal array. The effects are myriad, from the ambient bustle of a crowded restaurant, to the noisy city streets; from the chaos of a police raid to the angry barking of a vicious dog; and it all creates a fantastic environment within your sound stage; a great backdrop within which you can truly immerse yourself in the proceedings. Of course, the big highlights come further down the line, with the climactic third act peppered with noisy chase stunts, crashes and near-misses, and all the effects you would expect to follow. The surrounds get a particularly good workout during this section, and the LFE channel comes into its own. All the while, the perfectly suitable and occasionally quite engaging Danny Elfman score keeps the pace at a nice even keel, rounding off an exceptionally good, demo quality aural rendition.
First up we get a full-length audio commentary provided by the director (and screenwriter) Paul Haggis, the editor Jo Francis, and the co-producer Michael Nozik. There’s all the usual discussions on the eclectic cast, and what it was like having them all on board, shooting on location, adapting the original, and putting it all together to create the final product. There are a couple of major issues raised by the director, however, which makes you wonder whether he saw a different cut of the movie – firstly, he talks about the title referring to ‘the next three days’ after the events in the movie, when clearly the final act segment has a title card saying ‘the next three days’; and secondly, he discusses the ambiguity surrounding the wife’s innocence. Anybody who has seen the movie, or the original, will know this is utter nonsense, and that, unless there was an alternate cut where things were made less clear, there is no ambiguity when it comes to this. It seems strange for a director AND writer to make these kinds of mistakes in a commentary, so this one is quite a frustrating listen.
Making The Next Three Days spends just shy of 20 minutes looking at the adaptation of the original French thriller, the work that they did for the remake, tailoring it for the US setting and also for US audiences, and the decent foundation elements that they had to work with.
The Men of The Next Three Days seems an unnecessarily skewed little 8-minute offering, as there were clearly not only several prominent female supporting roles in the movie (Olivia Wilde? Elizabeth Banks??) but also a few extra male roles as well which are left undiscussed (Lennie James’s cop and what about the role of the brother?). Instead we just look at the three biggest names – Crowe himself, Brian Dennehy (who plays the stoic father), and Liam Neeson. It’s hilarious because Neeson, an admittedly big name in the cast, has got about 5 lines in the movie, and all of about 2 minutes of screen time. I have no idea why he’s in this Featurette other than for added ‘big star vehicle’ promotion.
True Escapes for Love has one of the less well-known supporting cast members spend 7 minutes looking at real-life incidents which have been purported to have been done out of love – including a prison break last year.
Cast Moments is actually a 2-minute gag reel, complete with the requisite line fluffs and goofs.
Deleted Scenes total some 13 minutes of extra footage and are organised particularly poorly on the disc, with no overall ‘play all’ function, which makes watching them all an unnecessarily arduous task. And, at the end of the day, there isn’t much reason shown here to watch them – they would have clearly further padded out an already (arguably over-)long movie, and were wisely excised. Still, for completeness, fans will probably want to give them a whirl.
Extended Scenes gives you a further 4 minutes of scene extensions, which focus on several of the under-developed characters in the final cut (most notably the brother). Again, there’s nothing vital on offer here, but the moment where the brother dismisses his wife for being too intrusive could have been left in as a nice juxtaposition to the opening sequence.
Finally the disc is rounded off with a bunch of preview trailers.
The Next Three Days is a surprisingly enjoyable modern remake of a relatively recent French thriller which arguably didn’t even need to be reworked for a US audience in the first place. All things considered, it is actually quite watchable in its own right, in large part thanks to a solid central performance from Russell Crowe as the everyman hero who will do anything to see his wife freed. I’m still not sure why this remake works, where others clearly don’t, but – despite having watched the French original just a week prior to seeing this new version – I really didn’t have any objections to watching the same story told with a US cast and US locations (as well as a few different twists along the way), and Paul ‘Crash’ Haggis’s adaptation is an eminently professional, if not particularly standout, little thriller.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we get decent video presentation and exceptional audio, as well as a hefty selection of fairly comprehensive extras which should please any fans of the film; and who would be advised to pick up this release. Would I recommend the French original, Pour Elle, over and above this remake? Yes, but I don’t think that the situation is mutually exclusive – I think you’ll find a reason to enjoy both versions, just as much as you’ll find reasons to dislike both versions. The Next Three Days isn’t distinctly memorable, and will never be lauded as a ‘great’ thriller, but it’s good enough Saturday night fare, and certainly worth a rental.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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