April 20, 2018 Dark Crimes (Movie Review)
Descending down a sexually depraved rabbit hole can take its toll on any normal person, but what if, while down there, enticing temptations of the flesh awaken hidden desires to explore uncharted sexual territories that may cross over into paraphilic provinces? Paraphilia is the term used to describe any unusual, taboo, or otherwise bizarre sexual behavior that one derives gratification from, and which could range anywhere from sadism to masochism, or possibly even pedophilia to necrophilia. Such dark cravings could likely only be satisfied through the committal of some equally dark crimes.
Dark Crimes is a Polish-American Crime Drama/Thriller set to release exclusively on DirecTV Thursday, April 19th, and later in theaters and VOD on May 11th via Saban Films. Written by Jeremy Brock (The Last King of Scotland 2006, The Eagle 2011), and inspired by David Grann’s 2008 article, True Crimes – A Postmodern Murder Mystery, Dark Crimes was directed by Alexandros Avranas (Miss Violence 2013, Without 2008). Now, is it as provocatively mesmerizing as it sounds?
For starts, Dark Crime procures an exceptionally capable cast that was able to effectively illustrate this disturbing tale of sex, lies, debauchery, murder, and corruption. It featured Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 1994, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004) as the distressed, yet determined police officer, Tadek; Marton Csokas (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2014, Into the Badlands TV series 2015-) as famed writer, Krystov Kozlov; and Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist 2009, Melancholia 2011) as Kozlov’s mysterious girlfriend with a rather sordid past, Kasia; as well as some others.
As previously mentioned, this film exploits an unsettling storyline that clearly centralizes on corruption, sexual depravity, perversions, and the dangers associated with living such an impulsive, thrill-seeking, high-risk kind of life. The plot focuses on troubled police officer, Tadek (Carrey), who is struggling in both his personal and professional lives following a substantial, work-related incident. In the hopes of saving his reputation, he reopens an unsolved murder after discovering shocking similarities between the case and a crime described in an unpublished audio book by renowned writer, Krystov Kozlov (Csokas).
The case ultimately ties in to another case involving an exclusive underground sex-club that had been previously raided and shut down by law enforcement. As Tadek’s obsession with the case escalates, he treacherously tracks and digs deeper into Kozlov’s life, as well as the life of his enigmatic girlfriend, Kasia (Gainsbourg), in search of answers. What lengths is he willing to go to though? What exactly is he willing to give up in order to reveal what really happened that fateful night? What is the actual price he will be forced to pay for his pursuit of justice?
Dark Crimes was incredibly impressive on so many levels, and undeniably immersing. The plot was interesting enough, but it was actually the performances and cinematography that really tipped the scales in favor of this dark and gritty Film Noir. Carrey’s portrayal of Tadek was indisputably powerful and penetrating, while Csokas’s depiction of the philosophical intellectual, Kozlov, was vividly vulgar and villainous; in addition to Gainsbourg’s performance being gripping as well.
Brilliant cinematography captivates viewers and keeps them transfixed and unable to look away, despite how disturbing some of the content appeared to be. The desaturated darkness and Earth-tones, coupled with the recurring natural elements such as sunlight, wooden walls, stone gates, lush greenery, and towering trees, presented the notion that each character’s depravity was rooted somewhere deep within their own nature; and that regardless of the dangerous confines of the natural world, man is the most brutal beast of all. The contrast of light and dark, as well as the flawless framing of each scene, added just the right amount of drama.
In addition to those commendable qualities, this movie also made great use of profound and philosophical dialogue that was appropriately spoken with effectively arrogant conviction. There were also a few cryptic exchanges between characters and bits of dialogue that needed deciphering, which honestly just enhanced the viewing experience because it gave viewers the opportunity to solve the case with Tadek. The score was affecting, the symbolism was appreciated, and the pacing was not that bad.
Overall, Dark Crimes is a film where perceptions of love are twisted by perversions, and the truth is nothing if not illusory. It is a dynamic movie that comes to an astonishing end, which is why CrypticRock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.