John (Crowe) and Lara Brennan (Banks) are a happily married couple with a young son (Green & Simpkins). Life is perfect until one fateful morning the police barge into their home to charge Lara with the murder of her boss. The evidence is damning, her fingerprints are on the murder weapon, there’s blood on her coat, eyewitness accounts of an altercation with her boss and her leaving the scene. John believes she is innocent and for the next 3 years, through a series of appeals, tries to get the charges reversed – to no avail. So naturally this mild-mannered professor feels he has no choice but to attempt a prison break. He seeks advice from an ex-con Damon Pennington (Neeson) and thus begins his descent into the murky depths of the criminal underworld to save the woman he loves as he concocts an escape plan.
John never doubts his wife’s innocence but for the duration of the film we, as an audience, remain unsure. The testament to how great this film is that regardless you are still rooting for him to succeed as the inexperienced Brennan garners further knowledge from Youtube videos.
The acting in this is superb and this is where you can see Paul Haggis’ touch. He has given us the thought-provoking Crash and now gives us an incredible adaptation of Pour Elle by French screenwriters Fred Cavayé and Gillaume Lemans. The character development is there and makes you inevitably care more. This is what the movie hinges on – you have to be able to, if not relate, at least be able to buy into the motivations behind this attempted jailbreak. Russell Crowe brings John to life and makes him so magnetic to watch that even in the supposedly slow moments you can’t help but be drawn in. Elizabeth Banks really utilises the little time she is on screen to great effect and has great chemistry with Crowe.
Before this première, I had not heard anything about this movie nor had I seen any trailers. I think this may have heightened my enjoyment that much more as I was unaware of what it was about. The last 30 minutes of the movie are an example of how to build suspense – I was on the edge of my seat, nervously holding my breath before every potential capture of the Brennan’s.
And with that, I shall reveal no more – go watch this movie. Definitely worth it – after all, who doesn’t like a prison break movie? This film encompasses quite a few genres seamlessly. Great soundtrack, compelling performances, suspense how it should be done, depth and ultimately a true testament to the power of love.
“They did not know it was impossible, so they did it.” Mark Twain