Jim Carrey playing a role in a non-comedic film opens up for either an entertaining film or a disaster. Director Alexandros Avranas film Dark Crimes (2018) puts Carrey in the role of a disgraced detective named Tadek. He is looking to solve the murder case that got him taken off the job and put in the filing office. The murder is centered around a sex club called “The Cage”, and Tadek’s prime suspect, Kozlow (Marton Csokas), lived in the building with the victim and also dates Kasia (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a working girl from the club. Tadek is obsessed with solving this case at any cost, partially to get back what was taken from him and to stick it to the dirty chief of police, Greger (Robert Wieckiewicz).
Dark Crimes was odd for sure, but not enjoyable
The film is very clunky and full of expositional dialogue to fill in major gaps in the plot development. We first learn about Tadek’s situation through Malinowska (Kati Outinen), who is having a conversation with him about the case. Tadek demands to reopen the case based on a hunch he has, and she fills us and him in on why it is too risky. She later tells us about Greger and why Tadek should be careful, reminding him that she, too, wants Greger out of his position. Later, Piotr (Vlad Ivanov) takes this role of lead exposition to continue filling in the blanks of Tadek’s past.
Carrey is stoic and entirely drops his schtick for this role. However, he doesn’t really do much of anything, either. He’s kind of…there, and the character’s motivations are simply told to us. Thus, there is no empathy for his character, nor is there a sense of understanding to his obsession. It is never even totally made clear what he did wrong in the first place to become disgraced. He doesn’t come off as an entirely competent detective, and later in the film, it becomes clear that he wants “justice”, as though he were some pious superhero. There isn’t much in his actions that make this claim believable, as he seems hellbent on solving the case despite a lack of evidence.
There are a few scenes of note in this film set within an interrogation room. The first one is easily the most interesting, as Kozlow toys with the idea of truth that carries over from a Q&A scene taking place moments before. It’s clearly one of the themes the film is pushing, and perhaps the most compelling one. Tadek’s frustration is visible as he struggles to get any real answers from Kozlow, who takes the whole thing as a joke. The later scenes in a similar room (or the same room, shot from a different perspective) lose the intrigue of the initial one. It set the bar high for this potential game of cat and mouse, but it fades quickly.
Dark Crimes doesn’t do a whole lot and is another failed attempt at a good crime story. The end is intriguing -but, much like the bulk of the story – it’s just told to us, and doesn’t feel earned at all. The tone of the film is dark, which is established by a solid score accompanied by good cinematography…but that’s about it. Dark Crimes earns the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.