Dark Crimes Movie Review

Written by Shane D. Keene

Released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Dark Crimes Poster

Directed by Alexandros Avranas
Written by Jeremy Brock
2018, 92 minutes, Rated R
Released on July 31, 2018

Starring:
Jim Carrey as Tadek
Charlotte Gainsbourg as Kasia
Marton Csokas as Kozlov
Kati Outinen as Mr. Malinowska
Vlad Ivanov as Piotr

Dark Crimes 01 Dark Crimes 02

Review:

Loosely based on “True Crime: A Postmodern Murder Mystery,” an essay David Grann wrote for The New Yorker back in 2008, Dark Crimes is the tale of a grizzled Polish police detective investigating the cold case of a slain businessman whose murder is frighteningly similar to that of one detailed in a work of fiction. You can read the full details of the real life scenario in Grann’s article, and you should. It’s a very interesting read if you’re a nerd like me and into that sort of thing. What you shouldn’t do is expect to be as fully engaged in this film as you will be in that excellent think piece by the author of the best selling true crime novel, Killers of the Flower Moon.

I’ve never been a huge fan of actor Jim Carrey’s brand of slapstick comedic work, but I’ve always felt that his dramatic outings have ranged from promising to great, with standouts like The Man in the Moon and The Truman Show being personal favorites and The Number 23 demonstrating a remarkable alacrity with portrayals of a darker variety. And the similarities in that latter film--about a man who discovers the truth of his own past in a book his wife gives him--lead me to believe it was that role that set director Alexandro Avranas’ sights on him for the role of Tadek, the police detective at the heart of Dark Crimes. The movie, slow as molasses and as thematically and visually dark as the underside of a stone slab, has a lot of potential high notes, but it fails to resound on every single one of them. The protagonist is by design a darkly brooding, stoop-shouldered individual who looks more like an English teacher than he does a cop; one who meanders from scene to scene in a mostly trance-like state, staring morosely, often at nothing, and seeming like a man doing his level best to have no personality whatsoever.

Dark Crimes 05 Dark Crimes 06

Dark Crimes 07 Dark Crimes 08

And if that were the director’s intention for this character, his actor of choice fucking nails it. Jim Carrey is akin to an animated paper doll, delivering at best a lackluster performance, and at worst the most blatant case of non-acting in his entire career to date. But it’s more a case of flawed directing and a poor script that do the worst damage to this sadly uninteresting waste of an hour-and-a-half of the viewer’s life. With overly dark mood lighting throughout and a plot that plods along like a grazing buffalo, it’s a film that’s destined to gather dust in the bargain bin at Walmart, leaving the audience cold and feeling slightly cheated by its failure to deliver on the promise and anticipation of what could have been a brilliantly gritty noir psycho-thriller. It starts in slow-burn buildup mode and never gets out of it but for a short, unremarkable spate of action toward the end that feels more like a “fuck it, let’s wrap this dumpster fire up” finale than an honest and well-planned denouement.

So, in my wont to say at least one thing positive about everything I review, let me say this: it has Charlotte Gainsbourg in it. Remember her, the steaming hot actress from Nymphomaniac who can smoke a sex scene like no other? Yeah, she’s in it. Her less-than-career-defining role here is the only frosting I can find on this otherwise fallen cake.

Dark Crimes 09 Dark Crimes 10

Grades:

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About The Author
Shane Staff
Staff Writer
Shane Douglas Keene is a reviewer, columnist, and poet living in Portland, Oregon. He spends his spare time drinking scotch and/or beer, playing guitar, and thinking of ways to scare small children and puppies. He pays meticulous attention to beard maintenance, mostly because it freaks people out, and he writes about dark fiction and poetry in various places, including his blog at Shotgun Logic.
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