Dark Crimes is a self-described “European Noir”…whatever that is. Coming straight out of Poland, it sees Jim Carrey showing his serious side.
It’s at this point in a review that I would generally say what the film is about, I’d give you a breakdown, describe the main protagonists journey, their ups, downs, and how they overcome it all.
In this instance, I can’t do that. The reason I can’t do that is I’m not actually sure what happened in Dark Crimes. Jim Carrey wonders around, sometimes drives around, the camera follows him, closely, things in the background, not that you see much, are dark and grey, it’s dank, he speaks little.
We know he’s a police officer and we can ascertain we’re in Poland. Carrey appears to be a disgraced cop for something, we don’t know what, that has occurred previously.
He visits various places, sometimes more than once, but director Alexandros Avranas (Miss Violence, Without) films things close-up all the time, so it’s generally very difficult to get your bearings and know where he is.
We know he has a wife, Agat Kulesza (Ida, Rose), who is forever grumpy, we don’t know why, and gives him zero support, we don’t know why. He also has a daughter who never speaks and who we never really see.
There’s a bad guy, of course, that could be Marton Csokas (The Amazing Spider-Man, xXx), or it could be Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist, Nymphomanica) or Vlad Ivanov (Snowpiercer, Dogs) or Robert Wieckiewicz (The Mighty Angel, In Darkness).
Grump Carrey wonders around trying to ascertain who it is, becoming embroiled deeper into something, we don’t know what, that is a fallout of something that has happened previously, we don’t know what.
All-in-all, Dark Crimes has some nice touches, there are some interesting shots, but it’s badly let down by the story-telling.
Writer Jeremy Brock (The Last King Of Scotland, The Eagle) wrote the story based on an article by David Grann (The Lost City Of Z, The Old Man And The Gun), but he’s been watching far too much Scandi-noir.
It feels like you’ve been flicking through the channels and have stumbled upon episode three, or four, or five, of some foreign crime noir-series. Only, this particular episode, goes on for far too long.
You’re dropped right in the middle of something, no explanation, no reasoning, we have zero feelings for anyone involved, good or bad and to top it all off you’re expected to piece large parts of it all together yourself.
Dark Crimes should have been made into a series, if it had to be made at all, a number of hour long specials, with background, build-up, reasoning. I wouldn’t begin to watch a series mid-way through, and I don’t expect to watch a film from start to end and still feel like I’ve missed the first few hours.