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Are you kidding me? This is your plan? An old cartoon in a pissoir?
It's a start.
No, this is 80 years ago. Wait. I tell you what we do. We do it the old-fashioned way.
We go in with guns.
Someone could get hurt.
That's very sweet of you, Henry.
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HENRY'S CRIME is a dark comedy that actually carries a fairly good afterburn. The story is solid, the characters are unusual, and the setting in Buffalo, NY is appropriately dark and dank. This is a tale of how people react to their own personalities, moving through the world seemingly oblivious to those around them, afraid to create dreams much less go after them.
Flatline Henry Torne (Keanu Reeves) works the night shift in a freeway tollbooth, quite alone, and seemingly undisturbed by his isolation. At dawn he goes home to his tiny house where he greets his wife, nurse Debbie (Judy Geer) who wants to talk about beginning a family but as usual things distract the couple's ability to have a conversation. Friends pick up Henry to have him replace a member of the neighborhood baseball team and Henry goes along (as he does with everything that comes his way) only to wind up as the driver of a getaway car for his 'teammates' as they pause to rob a bank. Henry is so loopy that he is not sure what happened and is arrested by the bank cop Frank (Bill Duke) and without much effort in protecting his innocence, Henry is convicted and imprisoned. There he meets Max Saltzman (James Caan) who loves being in the protection of prison (low goals in life). When Henry comes up for parole, Max wishes him luck in finding a dream (or waking up to life) and Henry wanders back to his home: Debbie has married worthless Joe (Danny Hoch) and is pregnant - and none of this seems to bother Henry either. Henry decides to return to the bank he was convicted of 'robbing' and is struck by a cellphone carrying driving actress Julie (Vera Farmiga). Henry has feelings (surprise!) for Julie, follows her into the theater next to the bank where Julie is rehearsing Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard'. Things finally begin to move: the theater is connected to the bank by a tunnel, Henry visits Max and convinces him to get out on parole, and the two men plan to actually rob the bank Henry was sent to prison for not robbing! From here the puzzle takes twists and turns but the result is Henry's finally waking up to his emotions (with Julie), with a 'dream' of robbing the bank to repay the fact that he was unjustly incarcerated, and nothing - and everything - goes as planned with big surprises in the end.
Malcolm Venville directs this plodding venture written by Sacha Gervasi, David White, and Stephen Hamel. Much of the plot is rather silly but that seems somehow proper for a character as bland as Henry (played with appropriate flatness by Reeves). Farmiga and Caan add the sparkle that keeps the boat afloat. Just when viewers are about to groan over this story, it reminds everyone of some of the people who are sleepwalking through life, whether blandly or anxiously, and by film's end the importance of dreams and an appreciation of the events that make our lives interesting and quirky provides some valuable food for thought.
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