Release Date(s)2016 (July 31, 2018)
Studio(s)RatPac/InterTitle/Opus Films/Saban Films (Lionsgate)
- Film/Program Grade: C
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C+
Dark Crimes, a Polish and American co-production based on a true-crime article in The New Yorker, takes place in Poland and stars a full-bearded and slightly hulking Jim Carrey as bearded policeman Tadek. Once in line for chief of police, Tadek botched an important investigation and has been demoted to cold cases. With only a year before he can retire, he has been told to keep a low profile.
Investigating the death of Daniel, a man whose bound corpse was discovered in the river, Tadek becomes convinced that the murderer is Kozlov (Marton Csokas), a famous author who has written a novel containing sections that closely resemble details of the crime which have not been made known to the public.
Daniel frequented an S & M club called The Cage. The opening scene shows graphic images of what goes on in The Cage. Later, videotapes are uncovered that reveal even more depraved and disgusting acts perpetrated by patrons.
The bulk of the film is a cat-and-mouse game between Tadek and Koslov. As Tadek becomes convinced Koslov will get away with murder, he becomes unhinged and finds it impossible to follow orders and back off what has become a high-profile case.
Through the years, we’ve seen that Carrey is more than a broad comic actor. His performances in The Truman Show, The Majestic, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind reflect a thoughtful, serious actor. As Tadek, Carrey has entered the skin of an obsessed individual who is solemn, humorless, and driven. By assuming a stiff posture, never smiling, and keeping his face mostly obscured by that full beard, Carrey transforms into a dark character who speaks only when necessary and seems constantly to be observing, attempting to separate truth from lies, and seeing into the souls of those he interviews. When he does speak, it is with a strong, emotionless Polish accent. Though we may admire Tadek’s dogged pursuit of justice and empathize with his drive to redeem his reputation, his charmless demeanor makes him an unlikely hero.
Director Alexandros Avranas gives the movie a shadowy, noirish look that underscores the awful murder, the sordid milieu in which Tadek must work, and the debauchery that forms an important backdrop. Carrey’s central character is a dark soul who appears to have not much of a life besides his job. There’s a lot of Javert in Tadek, and because his chief suspect is famous, smart, and unafraid of him, Tadek is frustrated. Koslov is a man whose determination and cleverness match his own.
Director Avranas immerses the viewer in an unpleasant situation and never provides relief. Sound is above average, with dialogue, sound effects, and music all crisp, distinct, and practically theatre quality. Filmed in stark tones to highlight the nightmarish world depicted, it is an intense journey into murder and sexual perversion. There are no light moments or chances to escape from depravity. The film is rated R. The only bonus material on the Blu-ray release is a making-of featurette. A digital copy is enclosed.
- Dennis Seuling