Review: Dark Crimes

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: A disgraced detective (Jim Carrey) reopens the case that destroyed his reputation when an author publishes a novel with stark similarities to the crime committed.

REVIEW: I’ve always been fascinated by the dark side of Jim Carrey. Without a doubt the biggest comedy star of the nineties, starting with THE CABLE GUY, the star started exploring darker characters, which, more-often-than-not, upset mainstream audiences, but pleased his more cultish fans. Films like MAN ON THE MOON, THE NUMBER 23, and I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS might have all failed at the box office, but they were fascinating in how they revealed the cracks in the Carrey façade, with any extended interview with the star enough to demonstrate he’s not the two-dimensional cuddly guy he was marketed as.

Add to that list DARK CRIMES, which is without a doubt the darkest film he’s ever appeared in. Eschewing any sense of levity, this Poland-set potboiler is a gruesome tale that might be best described as THE SNOWMAN, were the star Jim Carrey instead of Michael Fassbender. Playing a tortured cop hero, with a wife and daughter that detest him, Carrey makes for a low-key protagonist. He never even cracks a smile in this lurid tale, which opens with a raid on a sex club where prostitutes are led around on all fours and tortured, psychologically and physically. It’s surprising that Carrey, who attacked KICK ASS 2 for its violence, was ok with this far more disturbing tale, which lingers so thoroughly on sexual violence, that any idea that this isn’t meant as sensationalism goes down the drain right off the bat.

Greek director Alexandros Avranas’s film is actually a real mess, telling a mystery that’s never absorbing, thanks to a preponderance of ridiculous characters. Chief among these is the defacto antagonist, an enfant terrible author (Marton Czokas), who basically walks around acting like Lars Von Trier, mocking both his critics and fans and proudly exclaiming his misogyny. Meanwhile, Carrey attempts a Polish accent that comes and goes. Only Charlotte Gainsbourg stands out as a former worker at the sex club Carrey helped dismantle, while the rest of the cast mostly speaks with indecipherable Polish accents. The mystery is thoroughly unengaging, although DP Michal Englert deserves some credit by at least giving the film an interesting, cold look.

Proving that the bigger the star, the worse of VOD offering must be (see Margot Robbie in TERMINAL, or Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in SERENA), DARK CRIMES does indeed mark a strange chapter in Carrey’s career. One wonders what attracted him to such distasteful material. While his performance is admirable (despite the aforementioned accent), the film is anything but, and by all rights, should sink into obscurity. Really, that’s probably best for all involved.

Dark Crimes



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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.