Monday, June 13, 2011

“HENRY’S CRIME” Movie Review. There’s an UNDERLINING PROWESS in MOST Things.

“HENRY’S CRIME” Press Preview

Be patient with “HENRY’S CRIME”.

This movie plods slowly but surely, but let’s give it a chance.

Just bate your breath and the pace may soon quicken.

And if your patience ever allow, it will soon strap you atop a “gallop” and race you to one solid build-up.

MALCOLM VENVILLE the film director gamely sets this pace

and he carefully weaves a story of mundane people eking a cheerless living.

The mood-and-tone is a contorted mix of both art house and commercial which you either love or loathe.

This Reviewer decides he is edged somewhere in between.

The mood can be grim and abysmal.

Yet despite the outer layer of apparent despair, you can spot a sprinkle of logic about life’s harsh realities, that not everyone can be born lucky.

KEANU REEVES is in the lead role as ordinary Henry, a down-on-his-luck man who works graveyard shifts as a toll-booth operator in a little known town.

His future is bleak and he is clueless as to where life is leading him next.

He regulates the routine of sleeping, waking up, taking his lunch, kissing his wife goodbye and thence returning in the evening for his dinner.

Naturally there ain’t any spark in his loveless marriage.

And this is just the beginning.

Little wonder that he is easily tricked into participating in a bank robbery.

He is caught, thrown into prison yet he refuses to “squeal” on his fellow robbers.

Suspend your disbelief mode here, please because in life, nobody is that insipid and selfless.

In due course his exasperated wife (JUDY GREER) dumps him for another man.

In prison, Henry bonds with an older albeit experienced cell mate Max (JAMES CAAN), a con man who is later to become his partner-in-crime. Having been incarcerated for a crime that he is innocent, Henry decides now that he is ready to commit it for real.

He persuades Max into appealing with the parole board to quit prison to help him rob a local bank (the same one who puts him behind bars).

This scheme involves digging and tunneling underground from a local theater connected to the basement of the bank.

To avoid unwarranted attention, Henry cleverly opts to become part of the cast for “Cherry Orchard” so that he can access the dressing room conveniently, where the tunnel exits.

In an unexpected twist, Henry falls in love with the lead actress, Julie (VERA FARMIGA), and puts the bank heist in jeopardy.

So will the bank heist succeed?

In the acting department, KEANU REEVES is in his usual element, playing the absolute guy with the one dimensional gaze who recites his lines with gusto.

You may rail him for not improving on his acting chops, but his name will always conjure a certain kind of allure to film makers.

You bet he’ll certainly return again to star in some kind of summer blockbuster when many others just dim in the twilight.

We rarely see JAMES CAAN these days. He is a delight to watch since his GODFATHER’s days and he definitely steals the thunder from REEVES.

VERA FARMIGA invigorates the film as the feisty love interest of Henry.

Did I enjoy this movie when most don’t?


“HENRY’S CRIME” reeks like a melancholic piece of poetry in motion.

Maybe it is one guilty pleasure that I dare tread where most others won’t.

It’s just that everyone has his own song to sing and to each his own.

And it’s so right in this case.

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