A caper and a charmer in turns

Henry's Crime

on April 08, 2011 by Pete Hammond
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Henry's Crime is an observant character study and love story wrapped in a heist film. Henry (Keanu Reeves) is wrongly imprisoned for a bank job he didn't commit. Upon release he decides, ‘If I did the time, I may as well do the crime.' With a terrific cast led by Reeves, Vera Farmiga and a splendid James Caan, this is a fun comedy with irresistible heist and heart. Adult audiences looking for a smart, entertaining film should line up, and strong word of mouth could reap a decent haul for this modest little caper.

Although it's hard to come up with an original idea in the well-worn robbery genre, Sacha Gervasi and David White's clever script manages to forge new ground. Henry is an ambitionless toll collector who gets caught in a botched bank job. He refuses to finger the real culprits and winds up in jail where he meets Max (Caan), an effervescent lifer quite comfortable behind bars. When he gets out a year later he decides, since he's already done the time he might as well reap the benefits and really pull off the job. So when he discovers a tunnel leading from the same bank vault to a theater across the alley, he convinces Max to take his overdue parole and help him rob the place. The plan? This novice actor actually gets himself cast as the male lead in the theater's production of "The Cherry Orchard." Once in rehearsals the robbers will have enough time to dig their way through the tunnel into the vault. What Henry didn't figure on was falling for the show's leading lady (Farmiga). Scenes alternate between the theatrical world and Henry plotting the bank job. What makes the script work is Henry's own slowly evolving crisis of conscience.

Henry's Crime is a pleasant diversion with refreshingly old-fashioned sensibilities. It also allows Reeves to do something a little more intimate and soulful than his work on The Matrix films. Farmiga, one of our best contemporary actresses, is ideally cast as the sly leading lady who gets involved in more ways than one. Reeves and Farmiga have instant chemistry and sparks fly. Caan has his best screen role in a long while; wryly amusing and fun, he nails this part with the ease of a seasoned pro. Malcolm Venville directs with suave style and ease.

Distributor: Moving Pictures
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, James Caan, Judy Greer, Fisher Stevens, Bill Duke and Peter Stormare
Director: Malcolm Venville
Screenwriters: Sacha Gervasi and David White
Producers: Stephen Hamel, David J. Mimran, Jordan Schur and Lemore Syvan
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R for language.
Running Time: 108 min.
Release Date: April 8 NY, April 15 LA

 

Tags: Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, James Caan, Judy Greer, Fisher Stevens, Bill Duke, Peter Stormare, Malcolm Venville, Stephen Hamel, David J. Mimran, Jordan Schur, Lemore Syvan, Sacha Gervasi, David White
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