John and Lara Brennan — played by Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, respectively — start the movie as parents deeply in love. The first few scenes of the movie drive home just how happy their home life is: Lara Brennan insists on taking daily photographs of the family together to document how much they all love each other.
Their happy home ruptures after a police force barges into their home and arrests Lara for murdering her boss. Evidence mounts against Lara — she had argued with her boss earlier in the day, she had her boss’s blood on her coat, her fingerprints were on the murder weapon (a fire extinguisher), and an eyewitness saw her driving away from the scene. All in all, despite her pleas that the criminal ran into her while escaping, there is too much evidence against her. John Brennan, her husband, never doubts her innocence for a second. With all legal avenues exhausted and Lara left with the finality of a life sentence, John takes matters into his own hands.
After some trial and error, John successfully acquires forged ID paperwork, learns how to use bump keys, tampers with his wife’s medical documents, and familiarizes himself with all the patterns of security guards. His plan begins earlier than he wants when he learns that Lara is moving to a higher-security prison in three days.