Throughout moviemaking history, there are plenty of old adages. Some of these adages and bits of Tinseltown wisdom hold true, while others don’t. Dark Crimes epitomizes two such Hollywood proverbs. Firstly, a comedic actor will eventually try to go all dark and severe. Be it because he wants to be taken seriously by critics or more respected by his fan base. Secondly, a film fraught with production issues isn’t going to turn out well.
Dark Crimes unequivocally proves both of these moviemaking chestnuts to be true. The movie, made in collaboration with the Polish film industry, was completed in 2016. Yet, despite starring Jim Carrey, Dark Crimes didn’t see the light of day until May of this year. Not by playing the festival circuit or getting a limited theatrical release though. Instead, DirecTV picked-up the movie for an exclusive Pay-Per-View run on their service. If you felt your Spidey-sense tingling; you’re right, that’s not a good sign. Last week, the film was finally released on all home video formats, so that we the masses could take it in.
The movie tells the story of a disgraced detective named Tadek (Jim Carrey). When a prominent businessman is killed, Tadek is tasked with the homicide investigation. Soon, he finds the case has connections to an underground sex club; as well as an infamous author of erotic fiction, Krystov Kozlow (Marton Csokas). It seems to Tadek that Kozlow’s new book is all too similar to the murder he is investigating. As his investigation and efforts prove Kozlow’s guilt, Tadek finds himself plunged into a dark world of sex and violence.
If that plot synopsis sounds familiar, that’s understandable. A few movies have plot lines that similar to that of Dark Crimes. The prime example of which is the 1999 picture, 8MM, an exceptionally bleak detective story, revolving around the world of underground adult films. Aside from being the flick, Joel Schumacher made right after Batman & Robin (1997), 8MM is similar to and much better than the movie in review could ever hope to be. Then again, when you’re dealing with such seedy subject matter, I suppose there’s only so much you can do.
I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Dark Crimes has only one redeeming aspect. That being that it’s competently made by director Alexander Avranas. Alas, despite being decently-produced, Dark Crimes is also a pretentious effort. As well as a flick that attempts to tell the viewer how to view it, all the while, presenting itself as a meaningful picture.
Of course, a decent amount of Dark Crimes’ pretension is due to its star, Jim Carrey. As a kid of the 90s, I’ve been a fan of the actor the majority of my life. While Carrey is primarily a funny man, he’s also taken his turns in the comic book movie genre with The Mask (1994), Batman Forever (1995), and Kick-Ass 2 (2013), even if he would rather you forget that last one. Of course, he’s given many dramatic performances as well from The Truman Show (1998) to The Number 23 (2007) and several movies in-between. All of which are movies in which I feel Carrey delivered excellent performances. Alas, I cannot say the same for his acting in this film. I won’t deny that Carrey is trying here. However, he’s as stiff as a board, and his Polish accent comes and goes like the wind. Still, the leading man is putting in more effort than the rest of the cast with all of them sleepwalking through this picture.
Not that I blame them, considering how dull this movie is. One might think that the film would utilize its subject matter to titillate. That’s not the case though, as I think the only thing Dark Crimes does is provide aid for insomnia. Frankly, not only is Dark Crimes a dull picture that reeks of pretension more than underground club stinks of B.O; it’s also the worst movie of the year so far. Upon the movie’s conclusion, I must confess that all I could think was, “Well, that was a waste of time. Why would anyone make that film?” In closing, I urge you not to watch this film.
Should you choose to Dark Crimes is Now Available on Blu-Ray, Digital, & DVD!