“The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena?”
It was 11 years ago I first heard the above; it was one of those dialogues that rings in my head as I pen this piece. For those of you readers who are unfamiliar it’s a quote off the movie “Gladiator”. It has been and always will be a personal favorite of mine. That was the first time that I ever saw Russell Crowe on big screen and since then been a fan. Although “Robin Hood” failed to impress many a viewer in early 2010, I reckon his latter 2010 production “The Next Three Days” with director Paul Haggis a cut above.
What traits does Russell Crowe have to offer to you as a viewer?
Let’s consider the above; why I wish to pursue such a query is merely based on the fact on how firm “Robin Hood” fell with many viewers which did leave a scar in the reputation of the once great Gladiator Maximus. Versatile, Intense & Charisma would be it all in a nutshell to me. Can he interpret a gladiator, professor, father, reporter, cop and even can he be Robin Hood? I justly think he can. There are just a handful of actors out there that has been blessed with this. Tom Cruise I would say can, but can Tom Hanks? His resourceful talent and Charisma go hand in hand; however resourceful one maybe, you need to have the Charisma to match the Character. This is what I felt was missing when Colin Farrell struggled with “Alexander”. (A resourceful actor who lacked charisma). John Brennan (Russell Crowe) is a husband whose wife has been convicted for murder. A teacher who is driven to eccentric ends to meet his own justice. John is a very basic depiction for a man in the caliber of RC. Yet RC does not take it blithely and sincerely delivers a 100% intense performance, The emotions are basic ; Disbelief, Denial, Acceptance & Grief , yet these are personified to great lengths and thus it fills up the very monotonously written script.
One may think that the entire production revolves around RC, since that’s all I have so far been rattling about. Frankly as a critique this is one of those movies that would be ruthlessly shredded to bits if not for the saving by RC, if that particular character was cast in an actor who couldn’t fill the shoes as the movie needed it to be fill ,this would hit the box office floors harder than “Skyline”. This does not mean that the supporting cast of Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson and Ty Simpkins were over shadowed. They were fantastic in the way they were expected to be. Yet the script was always written for John Brennan and his struggle for his own justice.
I would like to refer back to a statement made by me. “Monotonously written Script”. If the scripts flow was not monotonous I doubt we as the viewers would appreciate the talented cast and crew on this one. The direction by Paul Haggis was executed as clock work, there were a few eye openers at the beginning but yet Paul manages to tone down the flow in order to highlight the value of the climax and the themes within. I respect the themes discussed in this production indirectly. Paul discusses the Law and how that the law entirely rests its decisions upon evidence whilst the truth maybe out there. How many more of this would be recurring in the lives of those in society today? How many would have been sentenced unjustly?
“The Next Three Days” is based on the story of a Husband and son whose mother has been convicted for murder and who has been sentenced a life time imprisonment. Its 120 minutes that I would never get back in my life and was well spent. Grab a copy sit back see how a father and a son fight for a mother and a wife…….
Title: The Next Three Days
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks
Rated: PG 13 for violence, drug material, Language some sexuality and thematic elements
Rating : 07/10