Dom Hemingway Review
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Some Hollywood stars seem to get more attention—and more recognition—than they really deserve. Meanwhile, despite a pair of Oscar nods, Jude Law is one of those talented, reliable actors who never seem to get their fair share of the spotlight (at least not where his acting is concerned). But in Dom Hemingway, he finally gets his chance to shine. He shines so brightly, in fact, that the rest of the film seems to fade away.

Dom Hemingway finds Law offering up an unforgettable performance in the title role. Twelve years ago, the outspoken safe-cracker refused to make a deal and give up his accomplices—a decision that led to an extended prison sentence. But now that he’s out, he’s eager to reclaim his life. His first order of business: getting his revenge on the man who married his ex-wife and cared for his daughter while he was behind bars.

  
 
When Dom’s old boss, Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir), invites Dom and his best friend, Dickie (Richard E. Grant), to his country house for the weekend, it appears as though things are looking up for the brazen ex-con. He’s finally going to get payment for his silence. But their weekend of over-indulgence goes horribly wrong, leaving Dom to consider his limited options.

The story of an ex-con setting out to pick things up where he left off is certainly nothing new—but, in this case, it has potential, thanks to its gritty setting, its daring writing, and, especially, its unapologetically obnoxious main character.

Really, though, Dom Hemingway is all about Law’s performance. From the beginning, he holds nothing back, creating a larger-than-life character who’s bold and brash and crude in the most outrageously funny ways. On the surface, Dom is a reprehensible human being with little or no moral foundation. He’s arrogant and self-centered, and he’s perfectly happy to lie, cheat, steal, and beat his way through life. But it soon becomes clear that there’s more to him—namely, his daughter, Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), whose forgiveness and acceptance could actually mean more to him than cash, booze, and women. And it’s that hint of humanity that holds things together.

In the beginning, the film sets itself up as a delightfully foul-mouthed romp, following Dom as he settles scores and offends his way through one scene after another. Unfortunately, though, the real story never really begins. Instead, writer/director Richard Shepard seems content simply to let Law do his thing. In a way, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Law is absolutely captivating—and the role is sure to make Hollywood stop and take notice of a talented actor who seems to have fallen through the cracks. Shepard’s cleverly-written dialogue only boosts Law’s performance, giving him some wonderfully irreverent lines to deliver. But without a real purpose, the aimless story ensures that viewers will struggle to stay engaged.

As far as Jude Law is concerned, Dom Hemingway is a highlight-reel kind of movie. And if you’re a fan, you’ll love nearly every minute of his performance. But, without a real sense of direction, this character-driven crime comedy has little else to offer.


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