Tuesday, August 6, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: The Next Three Days

2010, Paul Haggis (Crash) -- Netflix

Is Russell Crow aging well? As a man or as a career? He is a few years older than me and while we live in completely different worlds, I still wonder and compare. He has not really been the purely heroic action hero but he has always played strong men, manly men. But he is hitting that age where he is more likely to play family men, unless he wants to be typecast as the grizzled veteran cop. He no longer has to check his body weight for the role. But he continues to work steadily, if not frequently, living as much in Australia and playing music (with Allan Doyle of Great Big Sea) as much as living in Hollywood and making movies. I think his next ten years are going to be much more interesting.

Paul Haggis is a Canadian screenwriter and director, known more for what he writes than what he directs. He's written everything from The Facts of Life (yes, the 80s show) to Walker, Texas Ranger (yes, the Chuck Norris series) to Casino Royale and Million Dollar Baby. Much of his life he was a Scientologist but he escaped the cult. He's received a lot of awards and nominations but I wouldn't really say he is a household name. This movie will probably be a footnote in his career, not being splashy or outstanding in any right, but you can see a skilled craftsman in its making. I have an urge to pay much more attention to him and his creations.

The movie has Crowe married to a woman convicted of murdering her boss. We are introduced to her as a volatile woman, of strong opinions. We can believe she did this but at no point does Crowe and he works tirelessly, while raising the kids and teaching, to free her via legal means. When the law fails, he has one option -- break her out of prison. The plan never goes smoothly for he is not a man familiar with the criminal element he require, and his wife is not sure she wants him to sacrifice everything. But Crowe is perfect here, relentless and quiet, determined and focused. Its heartwarming to see a man so utterly in love with his wife and family, convinced she can do no wrong. Unfortunately, everyone else is riding Crowe's coattails, giving mediocre performances best left for straight-to-<insert the current media>.