Led by a great controlled performance by Rooker, this movie will creep into you psyche and hide there in a dark corner. It's scary to think that monsters like these are lurking out there behind any crooked corner. The ending is also an example of very smart and minimalist filmmaking. It shows great restraint and perfectly wraps up the origin story of this character. It's as great a moment as it is truly disturbing.
Maybe I'm just desensitized, but this did nothing for me. With the word "portrait" in the title, you'd think this film would have a certain intelligence but you'd be dead wrong. I don't really see why everyone gushes about this one. Honestly, it's a bit of a snooze and doesn't even really boast the "gritty realism" it's so famous for. The last ten minutes were okay.
This movie holds up remarkably well as it turns 31, better than most or nearly all films made on or before 1986. It does it with stills as much as action, and leaves the necessary connection to the viewer, who in another film might see the stills as disconnected horror shots, while here they leave no doubt as to their perpetrator, fantrastic!!!
The most disturbing movie I've ever seen. That doesn't mean I enjoyed it, but Michael Rooker's performance is that of a virtuoso. The rest of the film is a far cry from the gratuitous and sanitized violence that was rife on movie screens in the 80s. In watching "Henry," the viewer is forced to consider the impact of all the fictionalized bloodshed he's been privy to.
This film is rough to watch, it does not shy away from the images that make your skin crawl. It shows you everything you don't want to imagine and delivers it coldly. Unlike most films about serial killers, Henry actively dissuades the viewer from fetishizing its killer character. The film gives a stand-in for the audience as well, and shows what romanticizing does. It gives an icky feeling that lasts all day.
The film has a lot more intention and conscience than the genre generally lends itself to. Rooker made his career on this restrained performance. Dark Knight absolutely stole "Know how I got these scars?", an awful lot like "You wanna know how I kilt my mother?" It is the earliest major film to portray these types of actions in a real way. Compassion is shown to every character, which is why it is terrifying.