How far would you go to keep you family together? That's the basic premise of this drama/thriller from Oscar-winning writer/director Haggis (for 2005's Crash). The story is based on the French film Anything For Her, which I doubt most of the people who go to see this will have ever heard of – I certainly hadn't.
There are things I liked about the film: Crowe puts in a decent performance as the schlubby hubby whose wife is suddenly accused and convicted of murdering her boss. Did she do it? That's one of the things we keep asking until the end. I believed Crowe's portrayal of a college lecturer suddenly left to care for their young son while his wife rots in jail. It's also good to see Banks back on the big screen – anyone who's familiar with her work in 30 Rock knows she's often an underused talent. I also enjoyed Dennehy's role as Russell's closed-off, emotionally stilted father – there's one scene between the two which I felt was just wonderful.
But the film also has problems: there's a subplot involving a group of drug dealers which is needed in the story but I felt it rather jarred with everything else that was going on. Wilde pops up for a while but is woefully underused; and in the middle of this quite interesting drama, Haggis throws in a scene which comes out of absolutely nowhere and leaves you wondering if he had a bit left over from the script of Quantum Of Solace and decided to just throw it into this film. It was so unexpected that I was sat there open-mouthed wondering what the hell was going on (some people may love this bit of the film – I'm not telling you what it is, because I want you to discover it for yourselves).
This is a decent three-star effort – no more and no less, which is a bit of a shame when you think of the talent on show.