Henry’s Crime is a crime/drama directed by Malcom Venville, starring Keanu Reeves (The Matrix), Vera Farmiga (Never Forever), and James Caan (The Godfather, Misery). The film is about a man just released from prison for a crime he did not commit, causing him to later rob the bank he was convicted of robbing in the first place.
If only Keanu Reeves could give us a strong and emotional on-screen performance–instead of his sleepless, zombie-like acting persona–maybe we will begin to think he actually enjoys being a major movie star–or at least give an appearance that he actually enjoys the acting work he does for a living. It would really give film goers so much to go on if it did not seem like he was, well, sedated. Fortunately, his drone-esq attitude comes in handy for his role in this film; as a guy who’s all settled in for a life of complacency when an unfortunate opportunity leads him to prison; where he finds enlightenment–sort of.
Henry Torne (Reeves) leads a predictable, boring life. Works the night shift as a toll booth collector just outside Buffalo, New York. Following his shift, he arrives home to his wife, Debbie (Judy Geer), who prepares him a breakfast to discuss his wanting a child. A discussion Henry is trying to avoid.
As if by chance, on this particular morning, a couple of his former high-school friends stop by; Eddie (Fisher Stevens), and Joe (Danny Hoch), who is outside puking his guts out. They were on their way to a ball game, and is one man down, (i.e. Joe), and Eddie is wondering if Henry can fill in. Henry, trying to avoid the starting a “family” discussion with his wife, reluctantly agrees to fill in for him– even though he soon will learn it would have been better to stay home.
On the drive to the “ballpark,” Eddie insists that Henry stops at a local bank so that he may withdraw money from the ATM. As Eddie and a couple of his friends enter the bank, Henry was busy trying to figure out why the car’s wires were handing out of the ignition. The bank’s guard, who was in a nearby shop buying coffee (Bill Duke), hears the bank alarm–then notices a car outside, the engine running and there ends life the way Henry knows it. He refuses to tell the detectives who actually robbed the bank, and he winds up taking the rap, being sentenced to three years in prison–meeting his future partner in crime, Max Saltzman (Caan), who is a career inmate–a former con artist–who actually enjoys being in prison. Even botches his parole hearings on purpose, just so he could remain incarcerated.
Henry’s wife, Debbie, visits him later to tell him that she has found someone else–and for the first time, Henry smiles. He actually seems to be okay with his wife leaving him for someone else. Henry considers prison as his “way out” of the monotony of his life. After he spends a year behind bars, Henry decides that he might as well commit the crime he was convicted of.
Alas, watching Henry’s Crime was a bit disappointing. Disappointing in the aspect of desiring Reeves to bring ‘life’ to the role. The only ‘signs of life’ in the film were from Farmiga, who looked as if she were trying to breathe life into Reeves character, and Caan–who brought in a little liveliness and comedy to the story. But it just wasn’t enough to make the film more interesting to watch. All eyes are zoned in on Reeves, who once or twice in the film actually smiled–which after seeing him expressionless throughout, made his smile come off a bit creepy.
The film certainly has the star power, but in the end–the story overall is implausible–it mildly does well enough to hold your attention, if at all.
Now for the Blu-ray bits: thankfully, the film is extremely well-mastered for its Blu-ray presentation in its aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (video resolution 1080p). Presented on a 50-inch plasma screen, the film quality is clear and crisp. Audio 5.1 lossless surround sound, depending on your stereo system for your home theater, the sounds of the cars whizzing by seems that you’re next to them. The only extras are preview trailers for Fox’s films: Terri, The 5th Quarter, Win Win, and Skateland–and that’s it.
The real crime–is not committing to your dreams