There’s a single bright spot in the otherwise dreary, uncomfortably exploitative study in degradation that is “Dark Crimes,” a Polish-British-American co-production retracing the sordid goings-on in a shuttered Krakow sex club.
That would be the unexpected presence of an effective Jim Carrey as a disconnected Polish police officer whose shot at redemption involves the reopening of a cold case murder.
Carrey’s heavily bearded, Polish-accented Tadek, a haunted-looking man of few words who moves with an economy of precision, is convinced the elusive killer of a frequent visitor to “The Cage” is Krystof Koslov (Marton Csokas), a famed novelist whose disturbing books are known for blurring reality and fiction.
The resulting game of cat and mouse leads Tadek down an increasingly obsessive path which, unsurprisingly, exposes some of his own baser instincts in the process.
Directed with an awfully heavy hand by Alexandros Avranas, the film has its own obsession with extreme close-ups, characters constantly entering rooms and closing doors, and, more problematically, scenes of naked women in bondage being debased by fully clothed males.
But Carrey’s quietly exacting, uncharacteristic performance, though not qualifying as a saving grace, hints at some promising new career directions in the same manner Robin Williams successfully tapped a darker side with “One Hour Photo.”
All Carrey needs now is a better film.
Rating: R, for strong and disturbing violent/sexual content including rape, graphic nudity, and language
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica