Henry’s Crime is one of those quirky indie movies. It probably ranks on the higher end of that scale, just by the A-list cast and cinematic production value. I don’t think it’s great or memorable, but as one of the unorthodox releases this weekend, it may interest some of you.
Henry Torne (Keanu Reeves) gets tricked into driving getaway for a bank robbery, and he’s the one who does the time for it. When he’s free, he decides he’d like to rob the bank for real, since he already went to jail for not robbing it. He gets his prison buddy Max (James Caan) out to assist him.
The hook is that there’s a tunnel leading from the local theater to the bank vault, from Prohibition era. So Henry strikes up a relationship with local actress Julie (Vera Farmiga) and ultimately ends up playing a role in their production of “The Cherry Orchard.” Isn’t that quirky? A bank heist AND a local theater production. Oh, the hilarity.
I’ve always been a Keanu defender. You would not have loved The Matrix so much if he weren’t playing it like a kid discovering his first Nintendo. Henry’s Crime allows him to be more understated than ever, because he’s a stifled sad sack. It’s the bland guy coming to life, a formula as trite in the indie world as the rom-com is in mainstream movies.
Max and Henry case the bank and the theater while Henry romances Julie. They have some technical problems to figure out, like dealing with the dirt from the tunnel. Along the way, more characters horn in on their scam. Ultimately Henry is torn between acting and going through with the plan.
It’s so mellow, it’s hard to get excited about Henry’s Crime, but maybe you want to see James Caan as another badass mastermind, or Reeves stretching from stoic leading men. There’s actually a good production of “The Cherry Orchard” in there, until Julie and Henr break character to deal with their actual relationship. Director Malcolm Venville makes the film look professional, so it will certainly stand out in an arthouse theater surrounded by first time foreign features.