Dom Hemingway is an exercise in extremes. Taking dark comedy as far as it will go until it becomes raw energy naked on screen and straight up to the edge of being hard to handle. Taken as a whole, the movie is uneven, slow in areas where it has to be quick and can make you shake your head a few times.
The story is simple enough that a five year old could understand, not that you would want them to watch this insane cinematic slice of crazy talk. Dom is a safe cracker who took the fall for a rich gangster and we pick up his story right as he is being released from jail and well….being relieved of some stress via the below the waist variety. From there, Law wants his money owed to him, and wants to sleep with as many women as possible and drink enough beer to fail three livers before tracking down his long lost daughter. How about that opening scene though…..
Richard Shephard’s tale begins with Jude Law ranting about his penis and you should thank the director for this. If a person is going to walk out of the theater, that time will come at this very early moment. If seeing an overweight belligerent filthy Law spitting fire about how great his mighty member is, then it is best you buy a ticket to Amazing Spider Man 2 so you can be dulled out of your mind for a 2 ½ hours. Dom Hemingway is fierce, blunt and works on a certain brand of motor oil. Fast and furious profanity mixed with contempt and guilt.
The film is 90 minutes and it crams in as many f-bombs it would make Quentin Tarantino take out a calculator to see how it stood up against his joints. The supporting cast is good enough, with Richard Grant stealing a few scenes as Hemingway’s handler and Demian Bichir producing a hilarious performance as an odd gangster who likes to fire his guns in the woods and makes the most quiet threats. Let me remind you. This film belongs and is OWNED by Jude Law. He’s a live grenade in this film, a wrecking ball equal parts rugged wit and endless contempt.
I love when actors challenge themselves and step outside their comfort zone. Here, Law takes seven steps outside his usual area. He is an accomplished actor and has the respect and command of his fellow actors, directors, studios and his fans. Here, he is a wrecking ball on screen with nothing held back or saved for later. It would be hard for the film’s stiffest critics to point out his performance as a source of concern. Law goes all the way to the brink and back. If I had to recommend the film on one thing alone(a rarity), it’s the performance of Jude Law as the title character. He isn’t the greatest human being and doesn’t come off as appealing yet we would follow this guy through a battlefield because he is so wild and unpredictable. Law did this redemptive walk quite well in a remake of Alfie, but here he takes up about 20 notches as the embodiment of naughty. This is a performance to remember inside an okay movie.
Everything else about the film is just okay. Emilia Clarke(the Queen of Dragons from Game of Thrones) doesn’t get much to do here except look sad and lost. For a 90 minute film, the second half moves as slow as a snail and some scenes just don’t work. Shephard felt like inserting this screen shots with plot points announced as some kind of comedic gimmick, but it still doesn’t work.
Dom Hemingway doesn’t amount to much but the comedy is sharp more times than not and Law’s performance is fantastic. If you want something original and blunt, check this film out.