It's all about plans and logistics. If you love details and preparation methodology laced with tension and a dash of whodunnit, then this movie is for you. I imagine a limited audience section who would raise their hands to say they would rather see the event planning rather than the event itself.
Unlike most prison break films, this movie shows the reality and consequences of following through on the prison escape fantasy. Bravo on that. The act of actually breaking a human being out of jail is not guns blazing, good aim, and luck with traffic patterns. It must require step by step coordintion, study, and run throughs. Unfortunately, filming those actions to make them engaging for an audience is not easy and is not accomplished here. I was very surprised to see at the end that this was written and directed by Paul Haggis (Crash). But it does explain why a film as uninteresting as this has such a superior cast. Too bad the material they are working with does not match their abilities. Liam Neeson shows up for one scene and comes away as the most interesting character in the movie.
While sitting through all of this planning, routine, and even more planning, I noticed a very good soundtrack. He uses a bunch of Moby songs throughout which is good and one of them is called "Mistake". Is this the director attempting to foreshadow for the musically astute? I also noticed that the Pittsburgh police department is oddly efficient and display outstanding time management. Their hunches and ability to acquire mismatched clues are without peer. Russell Crowe would have done much better against the bumbling Baltimore police department featured in The Wire. Also, Elizabeth Banks looks goregeous for a woman who spends a significant amount of time behind bars.
I could not recommend this film to anyone I know; no one would thank me for that. For prison escape fans, go rent the first season of the series Prison Break instead.