Starring Jim Carrey, Marton Csokas, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Comedian Jim Carrey returns to drama, going dark and nearly silent for the sexual crime thriller Dark Crimes. Based on the fictional investigative article from David Grann (The Lost City of Z), it is a Polish film with Greek director Alexandros Avranas at the helm. The film opens with a nude scene, the type teenage boys used to stay up late to watch on cable, but quickly turns tragic. This might be the most interesting role of Carrey’s career, not because he is good, but because of the way the normally hyperactive comedic actor plays a part so quiet and subdued. It’s not his best work, however, and his casting is questionable. Carrey has built a career playing chaotic and ridiculous characters, so his playing a pensive, serious role feels a bit absurd.
Detective Tadek (Carrey) has been suspended and is under investigation due to his temper and unorthodox methods. When the murder of a local sex club owner goes unsolved Tadek can’t help but get involved, focusing on famous author Kozlow (Marton Csokas), who seems to have more than just first-hand knowledge of the crime scene specifics. The withdrawn detective hopes to redeem himself with one final case. Choosing his career, legacy, and perhaps his sanity over family, he enters a deadly web of sexual violence with a trio of suspects who all have the means and motive to have committed the crime.
The eventual twists and turns of this crime drama do lead to a surprise ending, but the means by which we get there are lackluster.
The eventual twists and turns of this crime drama do lead to a surprise ending, but the means by which we get there are lackluster. Carrey’s performance is so mismatched for what this role requires, it would have been more fitting to have Carrey and Csokas (Loving) switch parts. It’s been ten years since the Dumb & Dumber actor dabbled in subject matter this dark. Number 23 in 2007 was the last time Carrey wasn’t being a ham. It wasn’t a good fit then and fails again here. The script certainly doesn’t support Carrey or the rest of the production. Belgian screenwriter Jeremy Brock (How I Live Now) seems unable to find a way to make the audience care about any of the people involved in this story. No character is well-rounded or fleshed-out, the setting and motives are desolate and removed. Dark Crimes is not a very engaging cinematic experience.
Other films with subject matter pertaining to rape and sexual violence towards women like Kiss the Girls, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or even Kill Bill, found a way to create characters the audience could root for. Dark Crimes is a bit more akin to The Snowman in the way it deals with this subject. Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist) is no stranger to films about sex and or violence. Her inclusion in the cast should instantly provide the audience with hints of what to expect. Ironically, it’s her performance that stands out after all is said and done.
Jim Carrey’s smile is nowhere to be found in this miscast deviant crime drama.