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Dark Crimes DVD review: “A despondently dull Euro Noir”

Dark Crimes is directed by Alexandros Avranas, and written by The Last King of Scotland scribe Jeremy Brock, and while I can praise the gritty Euro thriller for the bleak, soulless stylistic world that we’re dragged down into, there’s not a lot else here in terms of connection, character development or explained reason behind the events we watch unfold.

Whilst Euro/Nordic-noir is very much in vogue right now (Yes, I know this is set in Poland), Avrana’s film is all about the darkest, underground cesspit of life, and there’s not much chance of a shaft of light filtering through the dying embers of life we encounter. It’s very difficult to like something where no-one has any redeeming features and the ones that could are simply characters pushed into the shadows.

Much like torture-horrors, in the Saw sense, Dark Crimes revels in the lack of redemption running through its veins. Jim Carrey plays out of favour Detective Tadek, a man on his last detecting legs who’s focused towards distant hope that will prove his worth… for one final time. His target? An unsolved murder and a connection to unusual crime author Kozlow, played by Marton Csokas, a man who’s not afraid to share his love for the macabre.

While there’s no hiding from the deprivation of what we see, nor of the empty world we’re consistently reminded of, there’s little to care about in Dark Crimes. Heck, the film’s title is almost a cliché of itself and, unfortunately, there’s a lot of the aforementioned platitude evident here. They often try to force the hand of the film, like an extreme Nordic-noir, but it lacks the cleverness of what they’re trying to emulate. These problems come back to one huge issue: There’s little to no character development.

Carrey in decent as he explores the darkness within, and the effort to head towards those evil edges is commendable, but there’s not much to work with. There’s only so many brooding, haunted looks you can give but if you don’t know why the character is doing what they’re doing, or are bothered if they succeed, then a lot of that nuance is wasted. If anything, and maybe ironically, I felt he was too reserved.

Csokas is convincingly psychotic throughout, he’s portraying a crime writer who may also be a killer, but because we’re always at same level of ‘dark’ with these characters, and their heightened sense of personality, Dark Crimes never moves above or below the shadows, so there’s nothing much to follow. If anything, the long drawn-out sequences simply become a little boring where nothing obvious is achieved.

Charlotte Gainsborough is haunting, she brings depth to her tortured soul but – and here I repeat myself – why would the audience care about her progression when we don’t know anything about her life, beyond her having a kid she’s trying to (kinda) protect. Some stories can be dipped in and out of, that works, but you need a deeper understanding to feel something and you won’t if you’ve not been given any reason to.

Dark Crimes promises intrigue but never really delivers, which considering it’s based on ‘real-life’ seems odd, and quite frankly it’s all just a bit dull.

Dark Crimes is available on DVD and Digital HD now. 

Order it here https://amzn.to/2m3fjJJ

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