At this point, we all know that Jim Carrey can be a very good serious actor. After The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, he’s not a man who needs to prove anything to anyone. Nevertheless, admirably, Jim Carrey the actor continues to take chances, popping up in experimental Indie cinema like The Bad Batch and bizarre supporting roles as he did in Kick-Ass 2. It may not always pay off, but that's certainly preferable to another Dumb and Dumber sequel or Mister Popper's Penguins.
Hidden behind an impressive Serious Actor beard, Carrey disappears into the role of miserable homicide detective Tadek, investigating the apparent crimes of a novelist who appears to be taking inspiration from his own work. Based on a true story, this isn't a bad concept for a Serious Crime Drama and, make no mistake, this is a Very Serious Crime Drama.
The naturally fascinating Carrey is a strong choice for the lead too, allowing the actor to add procedural thriller to his catalogue of surprising roles. He and Dark Crimes both look the part, clearly taking influence from Nordic noir TV and cinema, all washed-out greys, blues (and that's just his beard) and knitwear. The erstwhile Ace Ventura broods like you've never seen before, delivering a performance unlike anything he has ever done.
Which isn't to say it's a good one. Remember, when The Number 23 was first released, that was a unique Jim Carrey performance too. And Alexandros Arvanas's moody crime drama is even worse than that, entirely lacking in wit, charm or excitement. Carrey barely wakes up, enlivening himself only to shout at a suspect or harass Charlotte Gainsbourg again. As an exercise in restraint, it's as admirable as it is boring.
Dark Crimes aims for the heights of Christopher Nolan's Memento, but it's barely any better than the notoriously horrible The Snowman. While this is a failure for Arvanas, it feels like a step backwards for Carrey; like the work of a comedic actor first dipping his toe into the pool of serious cinema, as opposed to one who has already conquered it.
REVIEW: DARK CRIMES / DIRECTOR: ALEXANDROS AVRANAS / SCREENPLAY: JEREMY BROCK / STARRING: JIM CARREY, MARTON CSOKAS, CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW