Jim Carrey has previous when it comes to ‘serious’ roles on film. He is not afraid to reinvent his style, vary his performance or even play against type. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for instance saw him play a heart broken scientific experiment. He also starred as comedian Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman’s ‘Man on the moon’, a film that was critically acclaimed. It also lead him to win a golden globe for instance. This was unprecedented. In Dark Crimes he plays as a down and out detective called Tadek. His life has fallen into moral detritus and personal sadness. So when notes of an unsolved crime are shared with him by a novelist Kozlow (Marton Csokas), he jumps at the chance to redeem his career. Evidence brings about evidence that leads into sexual perversion, violence and murder. It also opens up the idea that more is known by this Kozlow. He might even be responsible for these dark crimes.
When you see Dark Crimes cast and crew list, you feel that this must be essential viewing. Bar Carrey, you have Charlotte Gainsbourg, director Alexandros Avranas and it is written by Jeremy Brock. Sadly what you get is nothing but a slowly erupting car crash. I have been a party to a series of ‘car crash’ cinematic experiences. They often involve Nicholas Cage. The reasons I say ‘car crash’ is simple. It does not mean that the film was a nightmare in production but it means something else. This denotes a production that is flawed or fails to achieve a planned goal. It could be from a weakness in the material that is say scripting or plot lines. A weakness in direction, performances or even in the final edited version.
With Dark Crimes what you have is a meandering plot, wrapped around a flimsy produced film. It lacks any coherence in plotting and this drags the whole feature down. We have a murder mystery that is neither mysterious nor does it compel the viewer to want a conclusion. It does try to overcome this with style. A filtered dark and light scene style, with an overarching sound space. Neither of these do anything. This style is cold, unfriendly and hard to engage with. You cant reach into it and taken out of it. Carrey cant even rise the film above any of these weaknesses. He sometimes is able to invigorate ideas. Here he leaves us cold and seems to have been brought in to do this.