Director: Malcolm Venville
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, James Caan
Plot: An ex-con decides to rob the bank he was wrongly convicted of stealing from.
Poor Keanu Reeves – he can’t seem to catch a break these days. His film career is littered with quite a few false dawns and is currently languishing in yet another lull. After bursting onto our screens in 1989 as teenager Ted Logan in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, followed by a superb performance the same year in the ensemble comedy Parenthood, Reeves has struggled to keep up the momentum required to maintain an A-list status. Subsequent appearances in adrenaline-fest Speed and the successful if flawed Matrix franchise have displayed his talents, but for the most part whenever our Keanu pops up in a meaty role, we do tend to approach with trepidation.
Reeves plays Henry Torne, a man whose life is going nowhere. One day he does his rather dubious friends a favour by giving them a lift to the bank. Unbeknownst to him, he’s actually sitting in a getaway car while they flee the police – he is caught, takes the fall and goes to prison. There he meets wise-cracking con man Max (Caan) who convinces him to take hold of his life and do something with it. Upon his release, Henry decides to rob the bank he was originally put away for stealing from with help from his ex-cellmate Max. He discovers an old tunnel that links the local theatre with the bank so, after becoming the lead in a production of Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, he uses this as a cover to stage the heist. Unfortunately, all is not quite straightforward as Henry finds himself falling for fellow actress Julie (Vera Farmiga).
Henry’s Crime is an unremarkable heist comedy drama that never really manages to spark into life. Keanu Reeves puts on his usual ‘concerned’ face, no matter what emotion is required (Hayden Christensen would’ve also been perfect for the role). The character of Henry doesn’t demand a true comic actor in the part and, considering Reeves’ tendency to retain a deadpan expression throughout many of his films, it suits him well. James Caan steals the show as the witty veteran crook Max and gets many of the scripts best laughs. Farmiga makes a decent love interest, but there’s no need for her to flex her acting muscles beyond looking pretty and humouring Reeves’ Henry.
There’s the makings of a good film here, but it’s all very formulaic with a thoroughly silly ending - you’ll feel like you’ve seen it all before, but in much better films.