August 6, 2018  (Web Review)

Dark Crimes

Lionsgate, 93 min., R, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $21.99, July 31

Reviewer rating: 1.0/4

Set in Eastern Europe, this sordid crime thriller begins with a scene of writhing naked women being dragged through a dingy corridor and viciously raped in a now-shuttered underworld sex club. The footage is featured on a video unearthed in the basement of Krakow Police Headquarters by disgraced police officer Tudek (Jim Carrey), who connects the plot of a new “audio novel” by imperceptibly psychotic author Krystof Kozlov (Marton Czokas) with an old, unsolved murder case. Guided by his pal Piotr (Vlad Ivanov), Tudek gradually works out the intricacies that connect wily Kozlov to corrupt Detective Greger (Robert Wieckiewicz), who was originally assigned to the case and has now been promoted to Police Chief. Predictably, since his wife (Agata Kulesza) is openly antagonistic, Tudek indulges in an indiscreet interlude with Kozlov’s sadomasochistic, drug-addicted girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg), which further complicates matters and eventually delivers an unexpected twist. Allegedly based on a true story—adapted from David Grann’s 2008 New Yorker article “True Crime: A Postmodern Murder Mystery,” about a Polish writer named Kyrstian Bala who was incarcerated after the plot of one of his novels was tied to an unsolved homicide—filmmaker Alexandros Avranas’s Dark Crimes is an ugly movie with disconcerting scenes punctuating the pedestrian blandness, starring Carrey in a grimly serious performance minus even a glimmer of the actor’s inherent charm or charisma. Exploitative, inept, and often incoherent, this is not recommended. (S. Granger)