At one point during 'The Next Three Days,' our protagonist John Brennan (Russell Crowe) is getting advice from an ex-con about how to break someone out of jail. John's wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) is locked up for a murder she may or may not have committed, and it looks like she won't be going anywhere for the next 20 years or so. Her suicide attempt was the last straw for John -- now he's determined to spring her himself, no matter the cost.
Ex-con Damon Pennington, who is played by Liam Neeson with a bizarre facial scar and a Brooklyn accent, has broken out of jail numerous times and even written a book about it. As the viewer struggles to ignore how unlikely that would be, Damon breaks it down for John on how one might break out of the Allegheny County Jail and make it out of Pittsburgh before the cops close in. He asks John if he's ready to make decisions that could turn him into a different person -- would he kill? Would he give up his family? How far would he, could he go? For that matter, could he do this even against his wife's wishes?
What is supposed to be one of the questions at the heart of 'The Next Three Days' is easily answered. Of course he will! John, the community college professor, goes straight to work mapping out Pittsburgh, learning how to pick locks, following the truck that brings medical supplies (including Lara's insulin) from the prison to the hospital and back, buying fake passports and selling off household items one by one. What is set up to be one of the greatest sources of tension in the movie, John's moral quandary, just isn't.