The latest Jim Carrey film is dark. Pitch black. It takes place in a world without cell phones and where videotape, tube television, and cassettes are prominent. It’s a fusion of Hostel and The Snowman but does an admirable job emulating the taut narrative and pristine aesthetic of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. As the transgressive and perverse story unfolds, the shadow of the ax grows larger as the impending doom looms larger.
It is a film that is for a select group of cinephiles; those who champion the works of Lars von Trier and Abel Ferrara, those who fear not where their minds may trek while watching the film. Jim Carrey gives the performance of his career. His stoic and painfully introspective performance is very much akin to Sean Connery’s turn in The Offence. Both films star and actor looking to lose themselves in a challenging and taboo film, doing their best to cast aside their typecast and previous cinematic presence. Carrey dominates the frame; his physicality has never been put such effective use on screen before.
He towers over other actors, his economy of movement is commanding. He’s like you’ve never seen him before. Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the film is the breaking of the fourth wall, something that is risky to attempt in the first place, but if pulled off correctly is a marvelous cinematic feat. During interview sessions and other intense moments in the film, the actors are directly speaking to the camera or looking into the camera while listening intently. It is used effectively well, drawing the viewer into the brutal and sadistic psychological warfare being waged in the film. The picture plays in a similar arena as other icy European mystery thrillers in recent years. It feels familiar, yet doesn’t pull any punches.
The film takes vast risks that pay off in its brutal final moments, not pulling back or relenting anything that has transpired prior. It’s a dark and twisted web where no one comes out unscathed. Dark Crimes is a film that has been sitting on the shelf since 2016, and it’s not surprising why. Most who view it will become so uncomfortable with the subject matter, they’ll instantly scoff and dismiss it. This is a film that is overwhelmingly challenging with the events that are depicted on the screen, as well as what is said and not shown.
A review by Frank Mengarelli