Paul Haggis had the world at his feet. Award-winning script writer and director, he had two smash hits in a role with Million Dollar Baby and Crash. Then In The Land Of Elah flopped massively and Haggis was gone. Now he is back with his first thriller, and it's a cracker.
Russell Crowe plays a teacher with the perfect life, a young son and a loving wife. Their perfect life is rocked when his wife is arrested for murder. Thrown in jail, and months spent in court, even his lawyer cannot see any chance of her being released, as all the evidence points to her committing the crime. It leaves Crowe with only one option...breaking her out of prison.
This is a complex tale of a man obsessed. As former crook and jail-breaker Liam Neeson tells him, once it starts, there's no turning back. This isn't just about breaking her out, he has to break in too. Using the Internet, he slowly builds a plan but will it work?
Haggis has the good sense of letting building everything slowly, so for the first part hardly anything happens and yet this helps with the second part when it all kicks off. In once particular scene, the audience I saw it with were literally gasping as the thrills begin. If I had one complaint, its that the final section does outstay its welcome but don't let that spoil your enjoyment of a terrific thriller that has heart and emotion.
Elizabeth Banks, usually known for her comic roles, gets to play straight as the wife and she holds herself well but this is Crowe's show and he is on outstanding form. Playing the everyman he actually looks like a man on the edge and he commands the screen. You emote with him, you wonder if his plan will work and you sometimes want him to stop but you can also understand why he does what he does. It is a superb performance.
Haggis has taken the French thriller starring Diane Kruger called Anything For Her and has made it his own, with some great pieces of dialogue while still maintaining the feel of the original film.
If you are looking for a gripping, exciting film then you should definitely look no further.