Dr. Donna Copeland’s
JUDE LAW RICHARD E. GRANT DEMIAN BACHIR
Richard Shepard’s Dom Hemingway opens with Oscar nominated actor Jude Law giving a soliloquy about his penis. This goes on for five minutes as he brags and twists his face with pleasure (eluding to what is happening below camera). Dom Hemingway is like the film Joe starring Nicholas Cage; both are come-back vehicles for their once respected leading men. The other similarity is that both films don’t match the performance; scattered with a few witty moments, mostly thanks to the writing and Law’s over-the-top performance, the remainder of the film is dull and lacks a worthwhile pace. The narrative is all over the place, and before one scene can wrap up we are already into an entirely different scenario.
He has been in prison keeping silent for 12 years for his mob boss Mr. Fontaine (Bachir). Finally a free man again, Dom Hemingway (Law) wants to cram 12 years of girls, booze and drugs into three non-interrupted days. He seeks out Fontaine to get the money he is owed, but his new freedom has left him unconditionally thirsty for mayhem. His hedonistic behavior rubs Fontaine the wrong way, and with the guidance of his best friend Dickie (Grant), Hemingway seeks forgiveness from the daughter he abandoned and the life he has missed out on.
The narrative is about as unpredictable as The Wolf of Wall Street and the subject matter isn’t far off either. Nasty lead characters with unredeemable values and a thirst for sin seems to be a popular metaphor in today’s mainstream film. While I found Law’s gluttonous character more entertaining than DiCaprio’s Oscar nominated performance, neither film left me with anything life changing. “I have the sh**iest
luck,” Hemingway says at one point, unable to see that he creates his own madness and disorder. Once the new wears off from the disgusting looking character that Hemingway himself describes as “a face like an abortion,” the film drags from one situation to another.
The male genitalia jokes continue throughout the film, and at one point his manhood is threatened to be severed, which is meant to be ironic since it’s the one thing he is proud of. There are a few scenes where childlike banter is exchanged between Hemingway and Dickie that seems out of character and just to inject comedy into the dark spiraling plot. The vulgarity and violence is slightly reminiscent to In Bruges, but Martin McDonagh’s films are a good example of exactly what Dom Hemingway did wrong.
Final Thought – Law is interesting, the rest is forgettable.
By: Dustin Chase
A tipoff of what this movie will be about is in the way-too-long opening scene, in which we’re introduced to the completely obnoxious main character, Dom (Jude Law). I think probably this film was supposed to be funny—like a Tarantino film—but whereas Tarantino is a master of black comedy, there is little to bring even a chuckle in Dom Hemingway. Dom has just been released from prison, and is still nursing a grudge for being there in the first place. He goes to visit his old boss (after spending three days stinking drunk—which happens much of the film time) being about as obnoxious as one can be in trying to get someone to compensate him. This is despite reassurances that he will be paid back what is due him plus a present for his not ratting out his boss. He is lucky not to get killed for his rudeness, but he is forgiven. However, these scenarios will be played out again and again in the story, without Dom’s learning much of anything until the very end, and even then, it’s perhaps.
Richard Shepard, the British writer/director, has worked in television more than in the movie business, and maybe he just needs more experience with longer productions. I do think the cast is well chosen, and the acting very fine. Jude Law is well known for his knack in playing many different kinds of roles, and he plays Dom to the hilt; it’s more a fault of the script that his lines are practically all vulgar and without a smidgen of humor. Some of what he says is supposed to be poetic, but crassness overpowers any cleverness that might be there. Richard E. Grant as Dom’s loyal friend and sidekick Dickie, is also very skilled, but there is not much to his part except dreaded expressions about what Dom is going to do or say next, and ineffectual urgings to him to be cautious. Demian Bechir is perfect for the crime boss who has acquired some sophistication along the way (money always helps), is a gracious host and a fair player, but one who will be cold as steel with a betrayer. Finally, Emilia Clarke as Dom’s daughter brings depth to the character, even though she is on screen only a short time.
The acting partly redeems this film, but, on the whole, it is a waste of time.