He believes she's innocent and spends considerable time hatching a plot to help her escape so the family can be back together again.
The pain in the eyes of Crowe's character can easily be seen, and the film's writer-director knows showing that takes talent.
"There's so much introspection in this film," Haggis said. "So many decisions are made just him sitting there by himself and you have to see him and his face and what he's doing and what the conflicts are."
Crowe's resume includes "A Beautiful Mind," "The Insider" and "Cinderella Man." They're indications that Crowe is drawn to complex, smart movies.
"It's got to hit me at a certain visceral level or I don't want to do it," Crowe said. "That's why I can sit back, I suppose. I'm happy with all the jobs that I've done because I've done them for the right reasons.
"I've got a narrative-based imagination. If there's not a real story being told, I'm not that interested in it. I've tried to stay true to that thing since I was a young fellow."
"The Next Three Days" has plenty of tension, but it's a slow build until all bets are off.
"I love those movies," Haggis said. "You're feeling what the character feels. You should be on the edge of your seat from the beginning, but they're not racing around yet, but then when they do it kicks off."
"The Next Three Days" also stars Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson.