Dark Crimes is a dark film. Its Eastern Europe setting is colourless, drab and monotone and Jim Carrey for once is equally colourless, drab and monotone. As a hardboiled yet disgraced detective Tadek he takes on a case of an unsolved murder as an opportunity to end his career with some honour. That case involves a murdered businessman where clues to what happened and who did it turn up in a book by antagonistic author Kozlov (Marton Csokas) which features a near identical crime.
For Jim Carrey this is a world away from his zany performances in Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura & The Mask. At the same time this is far darker than any of his serious performances that started way back in 1998 in the Truman Show. Like many comic actors he’s turned in some brilliant straight performances with his best being his Golden Globe winning turn as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Since then his dramatic roles have been of extremely variable quality including the deathly dull ‘The Majestic’, the ludicrous ‘Number 23’ and the underrated ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’.
Dark Crimes sees him in probably his most subdued performance ever. The story is based on a 2008 article True Crimes – A post modern Murder Mystery by David Grann, a writer on The New Yorker whose also written other books which have been turned into films with the most notable being ‘The Lost City of Z’. It’s a world away from anything Carrey has done before with a story that features a sex club and unsurprisingly features some graphic nudity and language to match.
Shot in Poland this was released in the US in May this year and disappeared pretty quickly. Carrey has struggled over the past few years with his films floundering at the box office with his last really big box office success being all the way back in 2003 with Bruce Almighty. Since then we’ve had decent franchise starters that never found an audience (A Series of Unfortunate Events), critical hits but commercial failures (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind & I Love You Phillip Morris) , flop comedies (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and spectacular misfires (Kick Ass 2) from which he quickly disassociated himself .
Though he’s had some moderate hits in amongst all of those (Dumb and Dumber To, Mr Popper’s Penguins, Yes Man) the days of sure fire blockbusters now seem long gone and Dark Crimes is not going to change that because this is a very subdued and brooding film with Marton Czokas , who was a worthy and frightening villain in The Equalizer, coming out of this slightly better than Carrey. It’s easy to see the appeal of the role that’s radically different from anything he’s done before and his cropped hair and bushy beard give his appearance added solemnity but the slightly tawdry story line makes for unedifying viewing and Charlotte Gainsbourg makes for a less than convincing prostitute who he falls for.
It a vanilla disc too with no extras. A commentary or better still a short feature on the true story itself would not have been welcome. Here’s the trailer…….
Dark Crimes is out on DVD & Digital HD on 9th July 2018.