Quantcast

Henry’s Crime (Blu-ray Review)

I was hoping for more from a little arthouse flick about a bank robbery and the art of theater.  It seemed like a nice change in pace for Keanu Reeves, who can be capable when he isn’t being openly mocked (some would say unfairly).  Plus, Vera Farmiga and James Caan were on hand as co-stars in the film.  So what went wrong?  Well, the film was really just too uninvolving.  It has a lot of good pieces, but did not seem to know how to properly assemble them.  There’s a fun heist movie in here and there is also a fun romantic comedy, but the film does not manage to find the right kind of energy to make these plots very entertaining.  It has its moments here or there, but much like Reeves’ character in the film, I mainly felt detached from this story.  Regardless, Henry’s Crime is now available on a pretty bare bones Blu-ray release, so let’s get down to it.

Film:

We begin the film by entering the mindset of Keanu Reeves as Henry Torne.  Henry is an unassuming man working a nothing job as a toll booth collector in Buffalo, NY.  Upon returning home one morning, Henry and his wife (played by Judy Greer) begin to have a discussion concerning his sleepy attitude and how much their relationship is working.  Not long after that, Henry is visited by some estranged friends who ask for a favor to drive them somewhere and help with something.  Obliging, Henry has unwillingly become the wheelman for a bank robbery.  Stunned but unmoved, Henry is arrested while the others flee from the crime, but chooses not to rat anyone out, resulting in his incarceration.

During his time in jail, Henry meets an aging con man named Max (James Caan), who has become quite comfortable with his position in life.  During Henry’s time in jail, he becomes fixated on developing a dream of his own, based off of Max’s influence on him.  Henry decides that the best thing for him to do would be to actually commit the crime he was imprisoned for.  A year later, once Henry is free from jail, he decides to actually rob the bank; purposefully this time.

Henry learns that the local theater across the street from the bank actually has an old bootlegger’s tunnel running underground, which leads right under the bank’s vault.  Henry sets his plan in motion by deciding to become a participant in the stage production of Cherry Orchard by Chekhov.  Henry manages to convince Max to fight for his long overdue parole, in an effort to help assemble himself a team for the heist.  The plan is slowly building steam, despite a small complication involving Henry falling for the lead actress in the play, Julie (Vera Farmiga).

It doesn’t bother me that much that this film is fairly predictable.  It is a very light comedy/heist film that has a pretty inevitable direction to go.  The issues I have mainly revolve around the very slow pacing of this film, which has very little story to manage to drag out for about an hour and fifty minutes, and the presence of Keanu Reeves.  In general, I like Reeves.  I think he has a very specific range that only leads to specific types of roles for him to play, but when he’s in the right role he can manage it just fine.  This film asks of more than what he is capable of, but I don’t think it is his fault.  His character begins as a man who is essentially switched off.  He is sleepwalking through life with little motivation.  After leaving jail, this character should have turned a corner, revealing a new sort of attitude, or at least come alive a bit more.  Reeves may be smiling more at this point, but he does not really convey much else to suggest this.  An actor better known for certain quirks, namely a strong character actor, would have been much better for this role.

The supporting cast in this film is quite good.  Vera Farmiga brings the much needed energy that Reeves lacks as her romantic interest and stage co-star.  James Caan is also quite good, dialing down his tough persona a bit to act as the wise old figure in Reeves’ life.  I also enjoyed seeing Peter Stormare as the play’s director, as opposed to another slimy gangster.  These characters manage to keep things somewhat interesting; despite my issues with the lead character and how uninvolving the actual story was as a whole.

The pacing really does become an issue with this film, as the whole heist setup should be a lot more fun than it turns out to be.  There is a good idea here, with the old tunnel and Reeves putting together a small team to work on the heist, but the film doesn’t quite capture the energy that it needs.  I should also point out the depiction of prison in this film, based on how Reeves’ manages to get through this jail time.  I know it is just a film and a light comedy, but a year in prison after robbing a bank should have done more to Henry than just leave him with new ideas and an unscathed body.  If anything, it seemed more like he was just in a very long time out.

There was not enough here for me to like this film.  I am aware that Reeves had developed it with his producing partner, who also co-wrote the film, which makes it even more of a shame that Reeves could not pull of the part of the lead role.  Despite the presence of a fine supporting cast, the film still left me cold.  It has bits and pieces of a light, enjoyable comedy, but the end results just didn’t pan out.

Video:

Matching the film and Henry’s tone, the look of the picture is quite chilly, as it is set in Buffalo.  The 1080p widescreen transfer of this film is decent enough.  There was really no distinct style deployed in the direction of this film to make it very visually memorable and the Blu-ray transfer does just enough to get across the main, wintery color palette of the film and the various textures amongst the characters and warmer scenes.  Certainly not a showy transfer, but then again, this was a pretty small release.

 

Audio:

As a very talky film, the disc’s lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is good enough for this film.  Again, there is not much going on to really lead to more that needed to be done, but it was clear enough to hear without anything more notable to have me feel impressed by how good the mixing was on this audio track.  Ambient sounds and background chatter comes through well enough in the scenes that involve it, as due to moments when the soundtrack comes through, providing for some nice moments featuring various elements of soul, of all musical genres, for this film.

Special Features:


Henry’s true crime – providing absolutely nothing in the way of special features.

Final Thoughts:

Henry’s Crime is a very forgettable film that could have been more.  It is unfortunate for Reeves, as I like the idea of him handling more character-focused work, but he just needs to find the right characters to play.  Fortunately Farmiga and Caan fare better here, but the film is still poorly paced, with little in the way of overt fun.  The Blu-ray is almost a miss as well.  Decent video and audio quality but nothing else to offer.  The film is really not one that needs to be pushed to the top of a queue immediately.  It’s not terrible, just a missed opportunity.

See for yourself and find your copy here:


Share

Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “Henry’s Crime (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gerard Iribe

    Bummer. I love 44 Inch Chest. I still want to see it, though.

  2. Sean Ferguson

    I hadn’t even heard of this movie before your review. It’s got some good people in it so it’s too bad they’re wasted in it.