UK Release Date: 9th July 2018
Runtime: 89 minutes
Director: Alexandros Avranas
Writer: Jeremy Brock
Starring: Jim Carrey, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas, Agata Kulesza, Piotr Glowacki, Robert Wieckiewicz, Kati Outinen, Vlad Ivanov
Synopsis: A disgraced detective hits the jackpot when he finds a lead on a cold case, seemingly implicating a crime novelist in a murder connected to a BDSM sex club.
Sometimes comedy actors go through their entire career without ever taking on a dark or serious role. That’s not the case with Jim Carrey, who has gone dramatic for movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and dark for The Cable Guy. He has been mostly absent, though, for a few years and so there was something very intriguing about the prospect of Dark Crimes. It’s one of those very en vogue European noir thrillers, in which Carrey portrays a Polish detective, pursuing his dogged belief that he has discovered the only possible suspect in a cold case involving grisly murder and a BDSM sex club.
Carrey is detective Tadek, who has been demoted to a minor filing job after a run-in with police chief Greger (Robert Wieckiewicz). His dour demeanour is alienating his wife (Agata Kulesza) and that only gets worse when he becomes obsessed with a BDSM club murder case that went cold a long time ago. With the help of new assistant Victor (Piotr Glowacki), Tadek discovers that crime author Kozlov (Marton Csokas) used to frequent the club and he realises that one of his novels contains details only the killer could know. Tadek gradually tries to find hard evidence linking Kozlov to the crime and believes that the writer’s wife Kasia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) might hold some secrets.
The subject matter of Dark Crimes is exactly what it says on the tin. Unfortunately, that darkness manifests in a tone of constant, humourless tedium, without so much as a flicker of energy. There’s none of the dangerous atmosphere and clever plotting that powered David Fincher‘s Se7en and, instead, the audience is simply forced to watch Carrey mope around with a beard that seems to get greyer by the second and an accent that veers wildly throughout continental Europe from scene to scene. The supporting cast don’t fare any better, with Marton Csokas simply a cartoon bad guy and Charlotte Gainsbourg severely short-changed.
Obviously, Dark Crimes is shooting for the sophisticated adult thriller market that the aforementioned Fincher has basically made his own over the last few decades. The result, though, is 90 minutes of misery that doesn’t even have the good grace to be entertaining. When one character tries a meta gag about how “people want big, bright stories told with conviction”, it’s difficult to tell exactly what he’s supposed to be nodding and winking towards. It’s certainly true that the narrative up until that point had been pretty straightforward, but no one would accuse it of being big, bright or told with any conviction.
As far as a big return for Jim Carrey goes, Dark Crimes is a colourless disaster. It’s a dismal meander through a world robbed of texture and life, distilled from a genuinely fascinating true story into a murder most bland. Nobody shines as a result of this project, which is nasty for the sake of nastiness and builds to what is supposed to be a one-two punch of a twist ending but is actually nothing of the sort. It’s yet another shrug of the shoulders at the end of a movie that is about as exciting and energetic as Eeyore on morphine.
Nothing on the disc I had for review.
Pop or Poop?
There’s something baffling about Dark Crimes, which seems to have reached screens in the UK solely because of the presence of Jim Carrey in the lead role. None of his trademark charisma comes through in this thoroughly bland thriller, which relies on the postmodern appeal of its true story, despite the fact it’s utterly committed to dismantling that with its every boring scene.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
Dark Crimes is available on DVD and VOD in the UK now courtesy of Signature Entertainment.