Dark Crimes Review
Jim Carrey is serious. Deadly serious. So serious in fact that he's miserable. Deadly miserable. So miserable in fact...well, you get the idea. Carrey has sporadically appeared on our screens over the past decade and his new film sees him take a dramatic turn in this cheerless Polish produced effort based on the 2008 The New Yorker article "True Crime" by David Grann.
Directed by Greek director Alexandros Avranas (Miss Violence) Dark Crimes has taken some time to get a release having played at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2016, before finally finding distribution in April of last year. The film was also part produced by Ratpac Entertainment – owned by the disgraced Brett Ratner - which is oddly fitting given the dark sexual content of the story.
Carrey plays grizzled, grey haired Polish police detective Tadek, a man eager to find redemption for a botched murder case that appeared to put him and his family through the ringer. This is surely the only possible explanation to describe the minuscule back story provided for Tadek's private and professional life, while the few scenes involving his wife reveal some sort of distance between them without ever managing to explain why.
The unsolved murder in question is linked to a sordid underground sex club where middle-aged men act out their darkest fantasies with prostitutes and the like. That brings into play Kasia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her boyfriend, hard-bitten crime writer Kozlow (Marton Csokas), a man Tadek believes to be responsible for the killing and the two engage in a dull game of cat and mouse. Kozlow is given dialogue to spout like "Truth is what you make it, reality is perception," in an attempt to position him as intense psychological opponent when in fact the opposite is far more true.
Dark Crimes plays like any number of dead-end crime dramas seen on TV or buried deep inside a VOD or streaming platform, never able to move past the bluntness of its characters, story or drab themes. Michal Englert's drained cinematography is equally as uninspiring, the austere colour palette aiming for gritty and realistic but only distancing you further from events happening onscreen.
It seems like an odd choice for Carrey who surely could’ve found a more worthy dramatic vehicle closer to home. He doesn’t feel like the right fit for such a dull, one dimensional character, and you never get the sense he was able to discover the right tone of performance himself, coming across as far too introverted and unable to transmit the inner workings of Tadek’s seemingly troubled mind.
The supporting cast do not fare much better and mostly seem out of their comfort zone chewing on an awkward sounding script that sounds as if it was intended for an entirely different set of actors. This is Avranas’ first attempt at an English speaking film after the critical success of Miss Violence but this is a leap made by both director and his lead that really hasn’t paid off.
Dark Crimes hits DIRECTV on May 17th before landing in US theatres and on-demand June 15th 2018.