Provoked by his cellmate’s (James Caan) dream lecture, Henry Smith (Keanu Reeves), a lackluster hero who has just served three years for a robbery he didn’t commit, discovers his dream: he’s going to commit the very bank robbery for which he was wrongly convicted three years ago. With the help of his former cellmate, he devises a plan to break into the bank via the theater across the street, but in order to do that he must join the theatre’s cast in their production of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard”–whose narrative that seems to parallel Henry’s own.
Reeves is playing the character he was born to play: a pathetic but stoic figure who blends in perfectly with the sullen backdrop of a rusty Buffalo, NY. Unfortunately, it seems like this is the only role Reeves can play and his lack of range really brings his comedic elements to a screeching halt. Caan is the real genius of this film, absurdly funny as the confidence man who gets paroled for the thrill of the heist even though he really likes prison. Farmiga is tearing it up this year with the release of two films in the last two weeks and her directorial debut at Sundance and Tribeca this year. Unfortunately her talent is wasted in this film, but she plays her role very well.
”Henry’s Crime” makes for a fun movie nonetheless, dragged down by insincere acting on Reeves’ part and a story that gives the appearance of originality but ultimately lacks anything that an audience hasn’t already seen before. It’s predictable from start to finish and you’ll figure out how it ends halfway through the film–but at least you’ll be laughing as you get there.