×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: Jim Carrey in ‘Dark Crimes’

Jim Carrey tones himself down (too much) as a Polish police detective out to solve a kinky murder in a grade-Z thriller swathed in "minimalist" style.

Director:
Alexandros Avranas
With:
Jim Carrey, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas, Kati Outinen, Vlad Ivanov, Agata Kulesza, Robert Wieckiewicz.
Release Date:
May 18, 2018

Official Site: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1901024/

In “Dark Crimes,” Jim Carrey wears a grayish beard, cropped hair, and the jacket and turtleneck of a silently dissident Slavic literature professor from the mid-’60s. His character, named Tadek, is actually a Polish police officer, and Carrey speaks in an accent that’s so whispery and vague I got the feeling that if he were playing a Polish plumber back in his “In Living Color” sketch-comedy days, he might have worked that much harder to make his inflections authentic.

Tadek is a detective who got demoted to the lowly job of records-room clerk after a botched investigation. Desperate to win back his status, and his dignity, too, he seizes on a murder case that no one else will touch, maybe because it involves a sex club frequented by his boss. Throughout “Dark Crimes,” Carrey broods and stares like an actor who’s out to muffle any hint of his natural spirit by swathing it in poker-faced gloom. It’s as if he thought: The less I act here, the more I’ll seem like I’m “acting.” That beard seems to be literally tugging his head down.

The movie opens with images of what goes on inside The Cave, a hellfire S&M club where naked women are paraded around on dog leashes and abused in even more garish ways. None of it, however, is coerced; the film keeps making the point that the women are there voluntarily, strictly for the money. “Dark Crimes” could be one of those straight-to-tape movies from the 1980s — this one, loosely based on a true-crime New Yorker article, sat on the shelf for two years and will soon head straight to VOD — that wants to sell you on the idea that it’s all about crimes of passion. The sin of desire. Really, though, it’s a murder mystery with one twist, a movie just muddled enough to make you forget that crimes of kink aren’t actual crimes.

The hog-tied body of one of the club’s patrons has been fished out of the river. Tadek is sure he knows who the killer is: a writer, Kozlov, played by Marton Csokas as a nihilist dog who glowers at everyone with fulminating superiority. Kozlov has written a novel full of sex and homicide that appears to duplicate the circumstances of the murder. It’s full of windy passages of pulp Dostoyevsky, which we hear the author read on tape (“You murder a man, and the moment it’s done you’re already retelling the story to yourself, so that the act of killing is not your act of killing…”). But is what’s on the page, in a work of fiction, the only evidence Tadek has to go on? That and Kozlov’s insinuating outlaw-genius demeanor?

It’s all far too obvious (the novel should have been called “Red Herring”), and we spend most of “Dark Crimes” waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s a problem, since the film’s pace never deviates from its hushed, deliberate, anticipatory gaze — it’s stuck in thriller-foreplay mode. The whole thing is a glossy “minimalist” tease, whether it’s showing us surveillance footage of the sex club whose activities we never get a detailed enough glimpse of or the spark that flames up between Tadek and Kozlov’s ex-partner, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg as a masochist who wears her bruises with pride.

Gainsbourg, as she proved in Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac,” is such a fine actress that she can do a nude scene in which she communicates emotion entirely with the muscles of her back. She outclasses this movie, unlike Carrey, who for all his talent seems trapped in it. That’s what happens when an actor tries to stretch and reel himself in at the same time.

Film Review: Jim Carrey in 'Dark Crimes'

Reviewed on-line, May 21, 2017. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 96 MIN.

Production: A Saban Films release of a Los Angeles Media Fund, RatPac Entertainment, Gerson Films production, in association with Opus Films, with support from the Polish Film Institute, the City of Krakow, the Krakow Film Commission. Producers: Brett Ratner, David Gerson, John Chen, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman. Executive producers: Kasia Nabialczyk, James Packer, Michael Aguilar, Patrick Murray.

Crew: Director: Alexandros Avranas. Screenplay: Jeremy Brock. Camera (color, widescreen): Michel Englert. Editor: Agnieszka Glinska. Music: Richard Patrick, Tobias Enhus.

With: Jim Carrey, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas, Kati Outinen, Vlad Ivanov, Agata Kulesza, Robert Wieckiewicz.

More Film

  • Atmosphere91st Annual Academy Awards, Governors Ball

    Inside the 2019 Oscar Parties

    Stars party all around Hollywood before, during, and after the Oscars. Here, Variety hits the town to give you the inside scoop on all the star-studded soirées. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for the latest updates… Variety x Armani Beauty Makeup Artistry Dinner Sunset Tower, Los Angeles, Feb. 20Variety and Giorgio Armani Beauty honored makeup artists Molly [...]

  • 'Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ Heads

    'Monty Python's Life of Brian' Gets 40th Anniversary Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” is heading back into movie theaters to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the classic comedy film. Trafalgar Releasing took the rights to the film last year. The event cinema specialist is planning a 400-screen release on April 18 that will span the U.K. and U.S. as well as territories [...]

  • Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs

    Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs as It Battles With Local Industry

    Yeun Seung-ro has been appointed as CEO of CGV Mars Entertainment, the Korean-owned company that operates Turkey’s largest cinema chain. He replaces Kwak Dong Won, another veteran of the CJ-CGV group. The change of personnel may reflect two ongoing battles within the Turkish film industry. CJ-CGV, which bought Mars for some $650 million in 2016. [...]

  • Woody Allen Developing Next Film With

    Woody Allen Teams With Spain’s Mediapro for Next Film

    MADRID — Woody Allen is re-teaming with Spain’s Mediapro, one of Europe’s biggest independent film-TV companies, to develop his next film with an eye it seems to shooting in Spain. Mediapro co-financed and co-produced two of Allen’s highest-grossing movies, 2008’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which grossed $96.4 million worldwide, and 2011’s “Midnight in Paris” which earned [...]

  • 'Stitches' Review: Berlin Film Festival

    Berlin Film Review: 'Stitches'

    An elegant hybrid of true-story exposé and slow-moving arthouse thriller, Serbian director Miroslav Terzić’s sober sophomore feature “Stitches” takes a familiar idea — a lone crusader taking on a corrupt system in pursuit of the truth — but delivers an unusually thoughtful, psychologically compelling character study. Taking its cue from Snežana Bogdanović’s eerily composed but fathomless [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content