“Dark Places”: Charlize Theron is a goner girl in ludicrous mystery

Dark-Places-laundromat

“Dark Places” opens Friday at Star Cinema. R, 1;54, two stars out of four.

A man sits in prison. He may not have committed the crime he’s convicted of. So why doesn’t he fight? Is he afraid? Is he protecting someone?

Or, as in the case of “Dark Places,” is the real solution to the mystery so silly and convoluted that he’s embarrassed to even say it out loud in a courtroom.

Adapted from the novel by Gillian Flynn, famous for “Gone Girl,” “Dark Places” starts off in a promising place and devolves quickly from there. Writer-director Gilles Paquet-Brenner (“Sarah’s Key”) completely loses the emotional thread of the story in a tangle of red herrings, false scares and wasted performances.

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