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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Henry's Crime

September 21st, 2011

Henry's Crime - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Henry's Crime is a heist movie with a twist. The main character decides to rob a bank only after he's arrested for robbing one. Is this enough to help it stand out?

The Movie

Keanu Reeves stars as the titular Henry Torne, a man who works the midnight shift as a toll collector. He's just sort of floats through life without much reaction. His wife, Debbie, wants to have kids, but he can't muster any answer beyond, "Okay." His routine gets thrown for a loop when a friend of his, Eddie Vibes, shows up at his front door, with Joe. They were on their way to play in a baseball game, but Joe's in no condition to play. Henry agrees to be the substitute, but along the way, Eddie, Joe, and another guy ask him to stop at a bank so they can grab some cash from the ATM. They do grab some cash, but not from an ATM.

They get away clean, but Henry's busted before he even knows there was a bank robbery. He's still technically the driver, and when he refuses to tell the cops who actually robbed the bank, he's locked up for three years. Once in prison, he meets Max, who is a lifer, and a philosophical one at that. Henry's stay in prison is, well, he's probably describe it as "Okay." He does get some shocking news six months in when Debbie visits and says she's fallen in love with someone else, Joe. However, a year after that, he's out.

Life on the outside turns out to be just the same as it was before. Henry was hoping prison would give him a fresh start. When he learns the bank he was arrested for robbing was once attached to a nearbly theater via a moonshine tunnel, he decides to take the advice of one of his fellow inmates who told him: "You did the time, you might as well do the crime." He visits Max in prison and explains to him his plan and asks if he's willing to join him. He also needs access to the theater, at the other end of the tunnel. Fortunately, the lead actress in a play, Julie, met him the day before, after she hit him with her car. The tunnel is in the dressing room of the guy who plays Lopakhin, so through some machinations of Max, the old guys leaves and Henry is given the role. The job turns out to be bigger than they thought it would be, so the recruit Joe to help.

Things seem to be going well, but there are a few more complications, including Frank, the guard that caught Henry the first time around becoming suspicious. There's also an old friend becoming a new recruit. And of course, Henry falls for Julie.

Henry's Crime isn't exactly a bad movie, but it has some problems. Chef among those is Henry. The titular character is the least interesting of the three leads and the one that seems the least real. His actions leading up to him deciding to rob the bank don't make a whole lot of sense. The plot needed him to go to jail for a crime he didn't really commit, and then decide to commit the crime for real. But the screenwriter never figured out a way to make that happen that felt organic. And since this part of the film took so much time to get through, it really hurts the overall appeal.

There are a few parts of the film that worked, including the performances by James Cann and Vera Farmiga, but you have to sit through a lot before the film begins to find its footing.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Additionally, the Blu-ray looks and sounds weak. The film only costs $12 million to make, so you can't expect it to look like a summer blockbuster. However, at times it looks like an up-converted DVD. The film also tends to have a rather muted color palette, so the Blu-ray doesn't shine in that area either, while the shadows have a tendency to swallow details. The audio is clear, but uncomplicated. Your surround sound speakers will be nearly completely unused. The Blu-ray does cost about 25% more than the DVD, which isn't a bad deal, but it's not a great one either. Given the total lack of extras and the less than impressive audio / video, I don't think it's worth it.

The Verdict

Henry's Crime has an interesting premise, but the set-up never establishes a good reason why this would premise would happen in the first place. By the time the film finally gets its feet, it's too late. There are no extras on either the DVD or the Blu-ray, while the film's technical presentation isn't strong enough to make going High Definition worth it. Overall, its worth a rental, if you are a fan of James Cann and Vera Farmiga.

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Filed under: Video Review, Henry's Crime