Dark Crimes (R)

Drama 92 min. May 18, 2018
By April Wolfe
I want to tell you about the ending of Alexandros Avranas’ dirty-cop-and-sex-dungeons thriller Dark Crimes, because it’s a startlingly poignant and genuinely surprising bit of cinematic artistry. But that might ruin the film’s one real pleasure, so instead I have to just tell you about all the other stuff. Ugh.

Jim Carrey plays Tadek, a gruff and disgraced detective in Warsaw. Tadek is looking for redemption, as all such characters are, and investigating a cold case that brings him into the orbit of controversial novelist Kozlow (Marton Csokas). The acerbic, nihilistic writer once lived in a warehouse that was home to both artists and a sadist’s sex club, where beautiful Slavic women are stripped naked and chained like dogs for customers’ pleasure. The murdered man frequented the club and had been in contact with Kozlow; Tadek listens to the audiobook of Kozlow’s new novel and realizes the details of a murder in the book match up exactly to those of the crime he’s trying to solve.

The script, written by Jeremy Brock, is based on a New Yorker article from 2015 called “True Crime,” the real-life story of a narcissistic novelist who published a “fiction” book detailing a murder he actually committed. What made that original article so fascinating was that it was real. That makes it a bit baffling that Brock and Avranas have turned true crime into a fictional cliché.

Scenes are often oblique and confusing, with the clues the audience needs to piece this all together buried in long, slogging passages of dialogue. Carrey and Csokas seem to be in a pissing contest to see who can be more sullen.
Alexandros Avranas Jim Carrey, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas, Kati Outinen, Vlad Ivanov Jeremy Brock Saban Films

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