J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Dark Crimes: The Amok Murder Case Not Really Adapted on Film


For some reason, the real life Polish police detective named Jacek Wrobelowski, or “Jack Sparrow” as his colleagues waggishly point out, has been renamed a more pedestrian Tadek. Perhaps more understandably, they water-down the post-modernist criticism and theorizing his investigation inspired. Instead, director Alexandros Avranas and screenwriter Jeremy Brock make lurid sex tediously dull in Dark Crimes (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.

According to the credits, Dark Crimes is based on “True Crime: A Postmodern Murder Mystery,” written by David Grann, author of nonfiction book adapted as The Lost City of Z. However, basically only the fundamental premise remains recognizable. The middle-aged Tadek starts investigating literary bad boy Kozlow, because there are details of a real-life murder in his American Psycho-like novel that only the police and the killer would know (just like Krystian Bala’s Amok).

In the film, the author and the victim were often patrons of a rather notorious sex club ominously named The Cage. It was there Kozlow met Kasia, a drug-addicted and much-abused employee, who became the mother of his daughter. Turning her could be the key to Tadek’s case, but he has more to worry about than the media-savvy Kozlow. Gregor, the original investigating officer, has since been appointed chief of police. Not surprisingly, he wants to keep the cold case ice cold.

Grann’s original article is fascinating, but none of the interesting parts made the transition into this film, which is just stupid and boring. Admittedly, it does not help that Jim Carrey is wildly miscast as Tadek. At least Marton Csokas chews the scenery as like the Devil Incarnate as Kozlow, but Avranas has so thoroughly stacked the deck against him with all the sexual creepiness, it makes it impossible to follow the film when it invites us to transfer our rooting interest from cop to accused. However, it is really frustrating to see the great Charlotte Gainsbourg playing the degrading role Kasia (it is so humiliating, she has to have rough sex with Jim Carrey).

Basically, Brock’s adaptation tries to rewrite the recent history so well-established in Grann’s article, but for what conceivable purpose? Frankly, his mytho-adaptation is riddled with sins, including questionable motivations, weak causal relationships, and excessive slack. However, at least we can say Carrey is funny again, for the first time in years. He is trying to be intense and brooding, but he looks hilariously uncomfortable every second of the film. That is not much, but its all Dark Crimes has. Not recommended under any circumstance, Dark Crimes opens this Friday (5/18) in New York, at the Cinema Village.

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