Sometimes the right ingredients do not make the tastiest meal. That’s the sad case in Crime Story, a revenge thriller starring Oscar winners Richard Dreyfuss and Mira Sorvino. He’s reformed mobster Ben Myers who’s drawn back to his violent ways when thieves stage a home invasion and steal his stash while his beloved memory challenged wife Nan is home. His estranged daughter Nick (Sorvino) is a cop who’s currently working with a Congressman’s election team, and she’s trying to get Ben to step up for his other daughter’s kids, since she’s in hospice. Neither of them is going to get what they want. The basic plot is a clever series of twists and turns, and in the hands of a better director, it might have worked, but the film is a sad miss on so many levels.
There are a number of stories that interconnect in the film. Ben is hell bent on catching the thieves. The thieves are working with someone he knows. Nick’s Congressman had an affair that Ben was supposed to “take care of,” and didn’t. And Nan, the love of Ben’s life, is lost in her memories. Oh, and Ben has cancer and wants to set things right. It doesn’t all fit together nicely.
But the largest problem of all is casting Dreyfuss, an otherwise wonderful actor, as Ben. He’s no action star and the scenes where he tries to be tough fall pretty flat. And his narration that comes into the film in all the wrong places sounds like an afterthought read from his living room couch after a big dinner. Sorvino comes off better, but so much of the dialogue feels leaden and her emotional scenes out of place. And on top of it all the cinematography with a mostly yellow hue does no one any favors. As I said, the plot is inventive, but the writer/director really needed to bring in some more help to give it the movie it deserved.
Put this one in the “films by great actors they wish they could forget” pile and catch something else this weekend.
On demand in all the usual places.