A low-blood-sugar heist movie set in the tumbleweed thoroughfares of downtown Buffalo, Henry’s Crime has a little too much in common with its aimless namesake. Early on, Henry (Keanu Reeves), a tollbooth jockey and first-class space cadet, gets tricked into being the getaway driver for a bank stickup, drifts into prison, meets a charismatic lifer named Max (James Caan), and then drifts back out. Wandering around the scene of the robbery, Henry is run down by cranky actress (and distracted driver) Julie (Vera Farmiga), and the jolt seems to knock his complacency loose. An old newspaper clipping inspires him to reopen a Prohibition-era tunnel between the bank and the theater where Julie happens to be rehearsing a production of The Cherry Orchard. Henry convinces Max to stop blowing his parole hearings and help him burgle the bank, then backs into a romance with Julie and a part in the play. Caan and Farmiga give more to the material than it can return, but it sure is fun to watch them tangle. The Chekhovian plot doubling almost works, never more so than when the play’s diva director manhandles Reeves into some actual acting.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2011