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3.5 out of 5 stars28
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 12 September 2013
**WARNING: HEAVY PLOT SYNOPSIS**

Keanu Reeves plays the meek Henry Torne, who works a toll booth in Buffalo. He is having some problems with his wife Debbie (Judy Greer, a young version of Susan Sarandon). He is conned into driving some guys to a baseball game, only as it turns out they rob a bank and Henry is the only one who gets caught. Henry meekly says nothing in his defense and gets sentenced to 3 years. During this time his wife leaves him for another man, which doesn't seem to bother Henry. In prison Henry meets Max Saltzman (James Caan), prison philosopher, barber, and story teller. Caan convinces Henry that if he did the time, he should do the crime.

Henry gets out of jail and appears to have walked home. His wife is pregnant by Joe (Danny Hoch), one of the bank robbers. Joe tries to recruit Henry to sell in his pyramid scheme, er ah multi-level... Henry's belongings are packed into one small box. Henry doesn't seem to mind at all.

Like a moth to a flame Henry is attracted to the bank...as he is walking in the middle of the street he gets hit by a female driver, who was paying no attention while chatting on her cell phone. She immediately gets out of the car and blames the victim.

Henry finally realizes his life's goal: To rob the bank he didn't rob. He goes to Max for help. Max is a lifer. He wants to stay in prison and not get out. At his review board he twitches and says to the panel if he got out he is going to kill their dog. Henry wants Max to get out and help him.

The theater, across from the bank, 80 years ago had a tunnel that went to the bank vault. Julie (Vera Farmiga), the woman who clocked Henry with her car is an actress, performing in "The Cherry Orchard" a play like the movie is both a comedy and tragedy. The metaphors pile up. His job as a toll booth operator symbolizes someone who goes nowhere while watching everyone go somewhere. Before this thing is through Reeves plays Lopakhin, who has come up from nothing and is looking for a change of life. The group of crooks blossoms from 2 to 5 and the play...let's just say it has an alternative ending.

Chick flick, heavy metaphors, F-bomb, sex, no nudity.
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on 8 July 2011
Time Out described it as a "Quiet Triumph" and I tend to agree. It's not the best movie ever made but is clever, multi-layered (stories within stories within...) and an interesting, often tongue in cheek, look at acting as a process. It is enjoyable, although slightly uncomfortable in places as Farmiga plays self reliant/involved diva and ego-above-her-status-actress very well and with great aplomb. Caan's comic relief as the wannabe lifer adds some one liners and fun to a film that has an old-fashioned serious classic quality both in style and direction (something to do with dimensions of camera angles/screen apparently), and the soundtrack is brilliant. Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard lends a certain gravitas to the proceedings, and a backdrop for the real-life storyline, as does Reeves' deliberate delivery and method metamorphosis from downtrodden bored/boring-but-nice average Joe to cavalier passionate lovestruck criminal-mastermind, which is impressive! I think this film is a slow burner... after watching it, it stayed in my mind and I want to see it again, sure there will be more layers and nuances that I missed.
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on 23 June 2016
I really rather loved this movie. It is quite old-fashioned in its style and the story is very sweet. I think Keanu Reeves said it was an existentialist romantic crime caper which, actually, pretty much hits the nail on the head! The three main leads did an excellent job, and it's certainly one of those films that I will re-watch. Henry's reconnection with the human race and life in general is lovely to watch. It's like he has been frozen in time for so long, and then he meets Max (James Caan being magnificent as always) and then, after a rather inauspicious first meeting, he falls in love with Julia. Given the way Henry had been previously just drifting through life, seeing things as though through a veil, it is uplifting to see how the veil is swept aside and Henry falls in love, probably for the first time in his life.
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on 22 February 2015
not so bad a bit slow going but still worth seeing to pass the time.
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on 17 February 2012
This film was totally new to me & I didn't know much about it other than Keanu Reeves took the blame for a bank robbery he didn't do.

At first I thought it a little slow & I wanted to shake the character 'Henry' into fighting back but the film grows & develops into a touching story of the 4 main characters realising their lifes dreams. It is a touching build up of each character realising what they want from life & a their involvement in the unusal way they finally achieve it.

The film was certainly better the 2nd time of watching as I then understood the story line & knew that it would develop into a good, light hearted, entertaining, easy watch film.

I certainly recommend it & thoroughly enjoy watching it.
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on 3 July 2015
Average - ok for a Friday night watch... Keanu his usual self (still yummy) and the rest of the cast good, easy watch but we would have liked to see how and where they all ended up afterwards!
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on 7 October 2011
I liked the sound of this film and had very high hopes looking at the excellent cast. But alas, it was mind numbingly boring in terms of plot, script and lack of character development. I felt embarrassed I had selected it for my good lady to watch and expressed my high expectations before pressing the play button. Wooden performances abounded and good acters tried desperately to hide their own frustration woth a shocking script and stupid plot which was so predictable it actually hurt. I hate being hard on films as I love em so much and always try to find something good about them but the only good thing I can say about this film was the camera work was pretty decent....and that's it! Utterly wretched, boring and lacking even the slightest spark of originality and creativity that might have saved it from the oblivion it is surely heading for.
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on 18 March 2016
I do like Keanu reeves it just a shame he has an arsenal of flops too.
I didn't even finish this movie I fell asleep.
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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2012
The trailer was fun, but they can be so misleading that I held few hopes of this one.

It had Vera Farmiga, who's one of the best and most undervalued actresses around.

On the downside it had Keanu Reeves, who redefines wooden acting, though he's somehow still amiable despite his limitations.

That he remain reliably plank-like in this film is, I THINK, intended. He's a man drifting through a humdrum life, who bizarrely takes the rap for a bank robbery. After doing his time he decides to do the crime, with the reluctant help of conman James Caan. Laughs ensue.

Caan relentless steals every scene with the ease of a grizzled veteran, and the wonderfully versatile Farmiga enjoys her role as a provincial actress making lottery commercials who dreams of getting a Hollywood break after her lead role on stage in The Cherry Orchard.

The theatre scenes are very amusing, and I imagine there are plenty of actors who would recognise the characters' featured, particularly the comically bullying director.

This is an unusual film, slightly odd and eccentric but entertaining, worthy of your attention if you can tolerate Keanu's brand of `mildly concussed' acting style.
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on 14 January 2012
This is a beautifully written screenplay by the talented Sacha Gervasi ( The Terminal) with a perfect cast to tell the story. Reeves has developed into a 'thinking man's actor', delivering this wonderful quiet character with integrity and ease on screen.Vera Farmiga is one of the best actresses of her generation; versatile and supremely focused and most importantly believable in everything she does-and here as Henry's love interest, she doesn't disapoint. This is also one of James Caan's best performances as the veteran 'con man'- played with restraint and understated humour.The writer has cleverly, though not glaringly, used Chekov's The Cherry Orchard as a metaphor for the entire film.
Pure joy from beginning to end!
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