Blu-ray Review Henry's Crime Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
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    Malcolm Venville’s Henry’s Crime is a combination of droll comedy with a caper film, a combination that ultimately doesn’t work very smoothly in tandem, at least, not here. There are some fun lines and an occasional good scene, but much of the film doesn’t ring true and is filled with unlikely coincidences and unbelievable machinations that are there just to keep the plot spinning. It spins, all right, but off in wildly erratic and unsatisfying directions.

    Henry’s Crime (Blu-ray)
    Directed by Malcolm Venville

    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Year: 2011

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1   1080pm   AVC codec
    Running Time: 108 minutes
    Rating: R
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish

    Region: A 

    MSRP: $ 29.99

    Release Date: August 23, 2011

    Review Date: September 1, 2011

    The Film


    Implicated in a bank robbery which he had no knowledge of nor inclination toward, toll booth operator Henry Torne (Keanu Reeves) is sent to prison to serve a three-year sentence. While there, his wife Debbie (Judy Greer ) dumps him for Joe (Danny Hoch), one of the men who originally planned the crime whom Henry didn’t rat out, but in prison Henry meets primo confidence man Max Saltzman (James Caan) who happens to be his cellmate. Paroled after thirteen months, Henry gets the bright idea that since he’d already served time for a robbery he didn’t commit, he might as well commit the robbery now. Knowing that a legitimate theater next to bank used to have a connecting tunnel to it, Henry and Max maneuver to get him hired on as an actor so his dressing room can be used as the entry point for the tunneling. Max doesn’t plan, however, on two things: falling in love with his leading lady Julie Ivanova (Vera Farmiga) and loving acting and having an innate gift for it. He wants to back out of the caper, but the man who arranged the original robbery-gone-wrong Eddie Vibes (Fisher Stevens) wants in on the deal and refuses to ditch the job.

    As a longtime crook and con artist, James Caan’s Max is in his element, and the odd couple pairing of him with Reeves’ innocent, passive Henry had the makings of a really funny mismatched duo, but it never jells. Henry is just dull (making us roll our eyes in wonder when both Julie and Russian émigré director Darek Millodragovic (Peter Stormare) find his acting so true and deeply felt), and neither the caper nor the romance ever really catches much fire. Director Malcolm Venville doesn’t really seem interested in examining the intricacies of the robbery scenario (thus sparing him and writers Sacha Gervasi and David White from explaining how the noise they’re making tunneling doesn’t disturb the other actors and stagehands), and the human stories of friends Max and Henry aren’t plumbed for any depth either. What seems evident is that a passable idea for a film wasn’t given enough work in preproduction to make it slicker and more audience-affirming before filming began. The ending simply falls apart in the most unsatisfying way imaginable.

    James Caan has the absolute ring of authority and believability as con man/career inmate Max, and he’s by far the best thing about the movie. Keanu Reeves is as blank-faced and uninvolved as in many of his early-career performances (granted, Henry is pretty much a dullard, but one waits in vain to see even the flash of an emotion pass across his face). On the other side of the romantic relationship, Vera Farmiga must push much too hard to compensate for the lack of sparks from her partner, but she herself isn’t especially likable or desirous. Peter Stormare overacts like crazy as the vapid director always looking “for truth” and finding it in the oddest places. Fisher Stevens plays another of his creeps that he can do so well, and Bill Duke as the bank security guard who captured Henry the first time around and now wants in on the deal has an underwritten part but does what he can with it.

    Video Quality


    The film is presented in its theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is offered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. Sharpness is very good, but color values vary depending on the point in the film where the cinematographer shifts color timing from blue-tinged to more normal hues. Thus, flesh tones early on are a bit too pink but become more natural as the film runs. Black levels are rather mediocre but acceptable. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.

    Audio Quality


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really doesn’t offer much surround presence. It’s clearly frontcentric for the entire film with slight bleed into the rears for the startling array of pop music tracks from the Daptone Records library used as music underscoring. Dialogue is acceptably recorded and has been placed in the center channel. Ambient effects do not sweep through the soundstage even though there are plenty of opportunities for them to do so.

    Special Features


    There are no bonus features at all on the disc apart from promo trailers for Win Win, The 5th Quarter, Breaking the Press, Terri, and Skateland. .

    In Conclusion

    2.5/5 (not an average)

    A few good lines, a passably good original idea, and a fine performance from James Caan give Henry’s Crime just about its only positive attributes. The disc is a bare bones affair with nothing in the way of bonus features even though the release does have a more than acceptable video transfer with decent audio in addition.

    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC 


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