Dark Crimes Movie Review
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One evening in Poland, gunshots ring out through the night sky, originating from The Cage – an erotic and fetishist gentleman’s nightclub. Several patrons scramble for the exits, while a lone individual remains on the scene for moments, accessing his surroundings before joining the others in the mass exodus.
Dark Crimes is based on the 2008 article “True Crimes – A postmodern murder mystery” by David Grann and the film stars Jim Carrey as Tadek, the detective assigned to the nightclub murder case. Carrey is vaguely recognizable sporting a buzz cut with full mustache and beard. Tadek is a very thorough, routine, and particular individual. He wakes, trims his facial hair, and consumes his strategically-placed eggs and bacon on a plate, keeping company with his wife Marta (Agata Kulesza) and daughter, while seldom exchanging words with them. Tadek’s routine also includes regular visits to his mother (Anna Polony), who has him promise her she won’t die alone. When Tadek reports to work, his immediate supervisor Malinowska (Kati Outinen) makes a point to berate him on what she considers to be his questionable commitment to his job. Tadek tends to vent and release frustration onto his partner, Wiktor (Piotr Glowacki). Tadek discovers that the individual who remained behind during the evacuation of the nightclub is Kozlow (Marton Csokas), an author who coincidentally wrote and published a book containing a similar premise. Sound familiar? Basic Instinct, perhaps? As Tadek becomes convinced that Koslow is the murderer, he becomes infatuated with Koslow’s girlfriend Kasia (Charlotte Gainsbourg), also a former employee of The Cage. So, take Basic Instinct, add 8MM2 for the underground erotica club investigation components, and the result is this film’s general premise.
The overall look of Dark Crimes is one of colors: greys, blacks, and any darker-shaded colors in between. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Fincher’s version) comes to mind when viewing this film, as far as pacing and scene components are concerned. Tadek, through sixty percent of the film, is seemingly emotionless. By avoiding any displays of emotion during his investigation, Tadek seems to be able to focus and function well without the common distractions that concern and sympathy for a case could bring, typically resulting in disruptions in his investigative process. Although, by concealing his lack of emotion, his personal life begins to suffer, leading to the avoidance and decline of his paternal and family-related responsibilities. It is apparent, by the third act, that Tadek’s ‘levy of emotions’ finally gives way, resulting in a progressively emotional breakdown.
Dark Crimes is director Alexandros Avranas’ third feature film, and he currently has a fourth in production. Aesthetically, scenes from this film show beauty through the drearily dull. There is a noticeable use of space throughout the film, and all interrogation scenes are medium shot with the characters speaking into the camera. At first, the medium shot style seems more like a creative style choice, until later in the third act, when the shot choice becomes more of a dramatic necessity. Carrey’s best moments in this film are when he broods and reacts to crime scenes and data findings with little to no dialogue. When given speaking parts, later in the film, Carrey noticeably struggles with maintaining the character’s Polish accent. Overall, Dark Crimes is an entertaining little film, with probably the most unexpectedly intense and serious role of Carrey’s acting career. Check it out.