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Movie Review: 'Imaginary Crimes'

Posted on

Imaginary Crimes

Current Status:
In Season
Fairuza Balk, Harvey Keitel

We gave it a C-

It would be hard to think of an image in recent movies more strained than that of Harvey Keitel attempting to shoehorn his volatile personality into this sodden early-’60s family drama. Keitel’s Ray Weiler, a widower with two daughters, is the daddy as dysfunctional teddy bear: He’s a boozer and con artist who’s always nattering on about his latest get-rich-quick scheme — yet we’re cued to see in every scene that he cares. Keitel’s performance never gels; he’s too busy leaping from sweetness to tyrannical stubbornness to give us a glimpse of Ray’s heart. More impressive is Fairuza Balk as the teenage Sonya, who has begun to figure out just what a flake her father is. Balk, her wary intelligence shining through piercing gray-blue eyes, has a sensual melancholy that evokes the young Judy Garland. Too bad the sketchy, dawdling script turns her into a passive reactor. This is one of those movies in which there’s more going on in the heroine’s voice-over than there is in anything that transpires on screen. C-