Henry’s Crime [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Ethan Stevenson (27th September 2011).
The Film

“If you’ve done the time, do the crime.” So says the cloying tagline of “Henry’s Crime”, a romantic comedy (when one uses both of those genre terms rather loosely in definition, anyway) starring Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, and James Caan. The film is clever in concept, but in really concept only. Conceived of by screenwriters Stephen Hamel, Sacha Gervasi and David N. White, ‘Crime’ ponders a simple question: “If you were wrongfully imprisoned, would you commit the crime you were accused of when given back your freedom?” In either the most unintentionally hilarious or knowingly brilliant casting decision ever, Keanu ‘Woah’ Reeves plays Henry Thorne, a clueless, emotionless dolt (who is openly lambasted for his poor acting skills later in the film) unwittingly roped into driving the getaway car during a bank robbery. And Henry’s answer the question ‘Crime’ asks is an unambiguous yes.

A lonely late-night tollbooth operator by trade, the easily manipulated and ever-trusting Henry is tricked by his friends—one of them played by Fisher freaking Stevens—into being the driver, when their original wheelman comes down with the flu. Henry thinks that he’s driving his friends to a softball game, and that they just need to hit the ATM before the game, so he happily obliges when they tell him to leave the car running outside of a bank. But when their robbery predictably goes south, and the bandits flee on foot, Henry, spaced out of his mind and oblivious to reality, gets arrested by a bank guard (Bill Duke) who hears the bank alarm, notices the suspicious car waiting at the entrance, and hurriedly connects the dots. Once in custody, Henry doesn’t talk to the police, and is quickly sentenced to three-to-seven in the state penitentiary. While locked away, he loses his job and his wife (Judy Greer), and his so-called friends walk free. In prison, the only person he’s able to build a rapport with is conman Max Saltzman (James Caan), a self-imposed lifer, who says just the right amount of wrong during his parole hearings to make sure the board never lets him out of jail, despite his otherwise civilized attitude behind bars.

Henry is released before his sentence is up on good behavior, and slowly—really, really, really slowly—begins to rebuild his life. Only, he finds that doing so won’t be easy. His friends have disowned him. His wife is happily married and pregnant. His job doesn’t want him back, handling money, because he’s an ex-con. Down on his luck, and at a loss, Henry returns to the scene of the crime, but is hit by a bright red Toyota Prius driven by struggling actress Julie (Vera Farmiga) as he crosses the street. Enchanted by the beautiful Julie, he follows her next door to the theatre where she’s playing the female lead in a staging of Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’, directed by an egomaniac (Peter Stormare). Henry is entranced, arriving at the playhouse-aside-the-bank each day to watch her work. Meanwhile, Henry wants to rob the bank that taunts him every time he walks by, and he wants help. He returns to prison, this time as a visitor, with the hope that he’ll convince Max, his only friend, to appeal to the parole board for release. When two of Julie’s co-stars suddenly drop out, Henry and Max—who’s joined his friend on daily visits to the theatre—are asked to read opposite the leading lady. They gladly accept the challenge once Max realizes the wall of Henry’s potential dressing room butts up against a secret tunnel that leads directly into the bank vault. Soon Henry, Max, Julie and even the retiring bank guard and Henry’s old friends are caught up in a plot to steal a truckload of cash and hopefully sail off into the sunset.

Despite it faults, which are many—from Keanu’s horrible acting (which is perfectly fine for this particular film, but lets face it, this isn’t acting on Reeve’s part. He’s just good at being a terrible actor because, well, its what he does naturally in real life anyway), to director Malcolm Venville’s pedestrian and plainly lethargic camerawork, and the awful, protracted, pacing— “Henry’s Crime” is based on a much better idea than the film lets on. I’d love to say that the film is a complete waste, but its not. I’d love to say that it’s the new worst thing ever. I’d love to say that every actor involved in it is so awful they should lose their SAG card, and that the director, writers, producers and even craft people should never be allowed on any movie set again. But the fact is, the film isn’t that bad. It’s just sorta stupid, wasting an idea that’s much better than what the end product does with it.

But some of the building blocks for the better film promised by the idea are already in place. The script makes interesting points about criminal recidivism and structural institutionalism, mostly with the character of Max. And both Farmiga and Caan (yet again adeptly playing a cunning conman; a staple of his oeuvre for sure) give solid performances. As a romance, the film doesn’t really deliver: Henry and Julie’s story is wholly underdeveloped and a bit too trite, even by rom-com standards. And as a comedy, the only humor it provides is largely unintentional—at least, I think. As a heist film its cliché and a bit too slowly paced. But when you combine each of those elements into a two-hour feature, you get a film that isn’t, regrettably, abominably terrible. The romance, although ridiculous, contrasts well against the similar story featured in ‘The Cherry Orchard’ and the writers actually manage to do something unique in playing with the sameness of the story lines. Undoubtedly, there are moments—every single one of Keanu’s audition and rehearsal scenes with the scene-stealing Stormare—that are flat out hilarious (intentional or not). And as cliché as the heist plot may be, Caan plays a conman so well that he alone carries the story to its silly conclusion without much problem. It’s just…. I have little doubt that with better people behind—and in some cases, in front of—the camera, ‘Crime’ would have been better realized. It’s not a horrible movie. It’s just not a particularly good one either.


Like many modern Hollywood productions “Henry’s Crime” has that distinctly bland—but technically perfect—look of being shot on film and then finished on a DI. And like nearly every Fox Blu-ray released recently, this disc is pretty close to perfect too. On a purely practical level the 2.40:1 widescreen 1080p 24/fps AVC MPEG-4 transfer is stunning. The picture is sharp and filmic, with a natural layer of grain and terrific textures in close-ups, be it tight shots of Famiglia’s gorgeous, perfect skin or Caan’s craggy old man wrinkles. The disc is superbly encoded, free of noticeable artifacts and bothersome banding. The image exports excellent detail, punchy contrast with strong blacks and clean whites, and great color. I’m not a fan of the overall aesthetic put forth by Venville and cinematographer Paul Cameron. “Henry’s Crime” is just a bit too generically color-timed, with a touch too much of the ol’ teal and orange. The palette leans towards those complimentary, but overused, hues and wrecks the naturalness of skin tones. A few medium shots appear softer than others, knocking the grade down a little more, too. But overall this is a great looking disc.


The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix (48kHz/24-bit) is relatively basic, if genuinely strong. Dialogue reproduction is excellent and speech always intelligible. The soundtrack—a combination of funk and soul, and a jazzy score from Youtube duo Fall On Your Sword—is wonderfully dynamic and clear. The mix is mostly front heavy, with a few very mild surround effects coming from the crowd during the play and a subtle rear presence supplied by the music. It isn’t mind blowing, but “Henry’s Crime” sounds pretty good for a low-budget, talky comedy. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are also included.


Aside from a few pre-menu bonus trailers, “Henry’s Crime” has no extras. The bonus trailers are:

- "Win, Win" (1.78:1 widescreen, 1080p, 2 minutes 20 seconds).
- "The 5th Quarter" (1.78:1 widescreen, 1080p 2 minutes 5 seconds).
- "Breaking the Press" (non-anamorphic 1.78:1 480p, 47 seconds).
- "Terri" (anamorphic 1.78:1 480p, 2 minutes 22 seconds).
- "Skateland" (2.40:1 widescreen 1080p, 1 minutes 50 seconds).
- "Fast. Digital. Portable" digital copy promo (1080p, 48 seconds).

The disc is also authored with the resume playback function and includes optional bookmarks.


“Henry’s Crime” is marked for Region A. The single layered BD-25 is packaged in an eco-Elite keep case.


Keanu is perfectly cast as Henry, an emotionless man who is a terrible actor, while Vera Farmiga—as his love interest—and James Caan—as his mentor—are the two bright spots in an otherwise dim film (dimmer even than Reeves’ dull, clueless Henry). “Henry’s Crime” is a largely forgettable, if, regrettably, not totally terrible heist film. It has a decent premise that’s poorly executed in the end. The Blu-ray features excellent video, good audio, but no extras. Worth a Look.

The Film: C Video: A- Audio: B Extras: F Overall: C


Rewind DVDCompare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it and amazon.es . As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.