Henry's Crime

Henry's Crime (DVD Cover)

Cast: Henry Torne (Keanu Reeves), Debbie Torne (Judy Greer), Eddie Vibes (Fisher Stevens), Frank (Bill Duke), Max Saltzman (James Caan), Julie Ivanova (Vera Farmiga)

Director: Malcolm Venville

Theatrical release: 04/08/2011
DVD Date: 08/23/2011

Rating: R
Running Time: 108 minutes

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Henry's Crime

Review: Henry's Crime is one of those films that tends to defy easy classification. Is it a heist film, as suggested by its premise? Is it a romantic comedy? A suspense thriller? I'm not sure what category I'd put it in, but I can say that it isn't very good, regardless of where it's placed.

Keanu Reeves stars as mild-mannered, possibly naοve, maybe slightly intellectually challenged Henry Torne, a man who has no ambition to do much of anything with his life. Asked to take the place of someone in a ball game who is ill, he agrees, only to be involved in a bank robbery in which he is the only person caught. A "go with the flow" kind of guy, he is sentenced to three years in prison, his wife divorces him, and his prospects for employment when he gets out are non-existent. Still, he's completely unconcerned. Life is good. When his fellow prisoners learn that he is doing the time for a crime he didn't commit, they suggest to him that — and this is the film's tagline — if you've done the time, do the crime. When he's released, he happens upon an old newspaper article about a Prohibition-era tunnel that existed between the bank that his buddies robbed and the theater next door, and comes up with a plan, albeit a really flimsy plan, to rob the bank. He enlists his former cellmate to participate — he's just been paroled himself — and the two of them set about setting committing the crime. Oh yes, Henry meets an actress, Julie, who is rehearsing a play at the next door theater, and they fall in love. But that isn't the first time they've met; she happens to have run him over with her car a week or so earlier. Preposterous and silly? Indeed.

The first 30 minutes or so of Henry's Crime are nearly unwatchable. I suspect many viewers will simply tell themselves there isn't enough time in the day to waste watching a film so awful and eject the DVD … or simply move on to something else. But it does get a little better. Emphasis on the word "little". The heist aspect of the storyline is kind of, sort of interesting, but it isn't developed nearly far enough. Instead, the film shifts its focus to Julie as she convinces Henry to take a part in the play, which is followed by endless scenes of their rehearsals together. Admittedly, it's kind of, sort of interesting to see how Henry takes to playing an actor — after all, he's actually playing a part in pulling off a bank robbery at the same time — but again, this element isn't developed much beyond leading up to the inevitable choice Henry has to make in the end: the money or the girl.

I'm not entirely sure how so much could go so wrong with this film — I actually like the premise and can see where it would have a lot of potential in the right hands and with the right actors — but I certainly don't recommend it, even as a rental.


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