Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Reviews
There's a dirtiness and grime to this film that coats everything it touches. This definitely applies to Michael Rooker who plays the titular character in an uneasy performance that is both charismatic and tense. You never really know what is going on in Henry's mind, but you don't really want to know either. As you watch him in awkward social interactions, you can tell he's not comfortable in normal human interactions. However, you see his real personality come out when he's taunting his victims. Playing with them like a cat with a mouse moments before carelessly disposing of them when they become inconvenient to him. It's a stark performance that will give you chills.
And with Tom Towles to play against, Rooker and Towles have plenty of fun together. As they have fun with murder, you are watching with delight and horror. It's a complicated film that plays with all of your emotions, leaving you feeling guilty for enjoying it as much as you did.
Extraordinarily powerful portrait of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who thinks killing is not a crime but simply a way of passing time and relieving boredom. Absolutely searing performances, brilliantly directed, but often extremely difficult to watch; infamous "Television sale scene" is one of the most intense scenes in film history. Not easily enjoyable, and certainly not for all taste, but for a film that takes on such an evil character and shows him as a actual person deserves attention. [NC-17]
Girl: I was raped by my father and recently came out of another bad relationship
Guy: That's cool, My mother beat me and made me watch her whore out to other men, then I killed her and now I'm a serial killer...
Girl: we have such a connection!
This was when I stopped watching.
Rated NC-17 and exploitative as fuck, it has a world view of chaos and unimaginable darkness. Throughout the movie, the audience doesn't see the attacks, but we hear the echos of them as the camera slowly zooms in on the still silence of the most recent victim. This is ultimately more haunting than a stylized action scene. We see the emptiness of humanity with each kill and it is borderline pornographic. To worsen the effect, we spend so much time with Henry and within his life, that one could potentially develop a sympathy for the monster. That notion reminded me of Peeping Tom. The film is as casual with violence as it is with the friendly conversations Henry has with his roommate Otis & Otis' sister, Tracy. Each of these characters has a background of sexual abuse but it's more alluded to than shown, thus leaving the viewer to dwell on the dark connection between lust and murder.
This movie offers no hint of a police investigation or justice for Henry's crimes. It's simply a showcase for the mundanity of evil. For the first time in my adult life I could almost agree with the censors on the excess of depravity. This is a valuable movie from a critical perspective, but after watching this you can see why some would want to ban it in hopes that it won't inspire future sociopaths.
Watch only if you have the stomach for this level of unyielding graphic violence. If you can handle the first 5 minutes, congratulations and "enjoy" the remaining 78.