Movie Review: 'Imaginary Crimes'
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-