CRIME DRAMA; 2hr 13min
STARRING: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks
Go, Russ, go! Banks and Crowe
Timing is everything, in movies as in life. So it’s unfortunate that director Paul Haggis’s remake of the 2008 French blueprint Anything for Her has arrived in cinemas just months after that film’s Australian release. If you caught the taut drama about a teacher whose wife is wrongly jailed for murder, you could walk away underwhelmed by this flabbier and more bloated version, which, while remaining faithful to its nippy, 96-minute predecessor, clocks in at around two and a quarter hours.
A careworn Crowe has enough innate authority that his transition from an easygoing Pittsburgh community college teacher to a prison-breaking initiator has the credibility of slow-burning despair. From the weary, fixated look of him, John Brennan (Crowe; a crestfallen Banks is his beset wife, Lara) seems likely to stop at nothing, even if his portrayal lacks the sense of urgency that Vincent Lindon brought to the original. In fact, barring its neatly executed climactic chase, the same could be said about this entire workmanlike experience, which mostly substitutes solemnity for tension. And that’s okay in its earnest way — although really only just.