You know what's great about this movie 'Dom Hemingway'? Jude Law, that's what, but then Mr. Law tends to be pretty darned solid in almost everything he shows up in. Except maybe that remake of 'Sleuth'. Law, Caine, Brannagh… still not quite sure how that happened, but that's really neither here nor there in relation to this article. What's not so great about 'Dom Hemingway' is the fact that it is, quite honestly, barely a movie. But more on that later.
One thing you must appreciate about Dom Hemingway is that it lets you know, right out the box, the type of movie this is and the type of character we will be dealing with for the next ninety or so minutes as Dom begins the film with a soliloquy extolling the glorious virtues of his own genitalia. He's in prison, by the by while he gives this speech, while receiving certain services. It's a little disturbing but I guess when one is in prison one must do what one must do.
Dom is about to get released back into the world after pulling a twelve year stretch, most notable due to the fact that Dom did not finger a single soul of this crime he got pinched for, and he did his time like a champ. He does, however, expect to be rewarded for his silence. But Dom has a few things to take care of now that he's out, such as beat near to death the man who married his now departed ex-wife and helped raise his daughter while he was in prison. This man seemed like a really nice guy and didn't seem near deserving of the kind of ass whipping that Dom put on this poor man, but Dom… if nothing else… is an asshole.
Eventually Dom hooks up with his number one Dickie (Richard E. Grant) who reintroduces Dom back into the life with some drink and some whores and all is right in the world once again. But there is the pressing issue of Dom's remuneration for time served, which will require a quick visit to Dom's old boss Mr. Fontaine (Damien Bachir). We should also mention that Dom meets Mr. Fontaine's moll Paolina (Medalina Diana Ghenea) who is… shall we say… blessed in many aesthetically pleasing ways. The issue with this visit to Mr. Fontaine's villa is that Dom simply
can't help but be Dom, and this is a man you really don't want to disrespect. Now this is about the time I figured a movie was about to start. You know… Dom steals from this guy or does something to this bad man which will require some kind of chase or hide or misdirection resulting in something or another… but no… not really. Just more hanging out with Dom and the odd things that happen to Dom in his odd life.
Eventually Dom meets up with his adult daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke) who is none too happy to see her deadbeat, criminal minded father… Dom also runs into an old nemesis… Dom meets his young grandson with all Dom really wanting to do is somehow make things right with his baby girl. And that's pretty much the movie.
As we mentioned before, writer / director Richard Shephard's 'Dom Hemingway' doesn't have much by way of plot or storyline. There's no heist or damsels in distress to save or great escape to make… and to be honest there's really no growth or redemption to the character of Dom to witness or observe. Dom starts the movie beating somebody near to death and he ends the movie threatening to beat somebody near to death. But I guess if we squint, that simple act of not beating somebody near to death could be construed of as growth, right?
No, 'Dom Hemingway' is almost a mini-travelogue in the couple of days in the life of a cat who has some serious issues. And thanks to Jude Law's performance, it's almost enough. Jude Law finds his inner Terence Stamp, then turns that dial as far as it can go then breaks that knob and takes it up a few more notches with Dom. He struts and preens and curses so freely and with such reckless abandon, and does all of this so naturally that is truly something to see. With Dom Hemingway, Jude Law has created a character that is a caricature but also, at times, feels like a real person as well. I imagine that's something that not easy for an actor to pull off. The movie is worth seeing just to watch Dom Hemingway strut and curse down the streets of London.
But I gotta admit, without much of a narrative, watching Dom strut and curse and drink and be a dick does have its limits. Dom, the man, is a bit much to take, and since Dom isn't doing anything in service to anything… well… I just would've enjoyed it a bit more if Dom had some kind of goal, or focus, or a mission.
But if you don't mind watching Jude Law perform his Master's Thesis on his way to his acting PhD, then 'Dom Hemingway' is a solid way to spend the time.