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Dan's Review: "Dom Hemingway" has an identity problem
by DAN METCALF, JR.
Apr 21, 2014 | 2247 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emilia Clarke and Jude Law in Dom Hemingway - © 2013 - Fox Searchlight
Emilia Clarke and Jude Law in Dom Hemingway - © 2013 - Fox Searchlight
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Dom Hemingway (Fox Searchight)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, some violence and drug use.

Starring Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demián Bichir, Emilia Clarke, Jumayn Hunter, Mădălina Diana Ghenea, Kerry Condon, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.

Written and directed by Richard Shepard.

GRADE: 

REVIEW:

Some say it’s good to be bad, but sometimes it’s just…bad. Dom Hemingway, a new film starring Jude Law in the title role – explores how bad life can be when you can’t control your morality (should you have any).

Law’s portrayal of Dom begins in British prison, where he’s spent the past decade or so for refusing to rat out his crime boss Mr. Fontaine (Demián Bichir). Once released from jail, Dom travels with his best pal Dickie (Richard E. Grant) to Fontaine’s palatial estate where he will be rewarded handsomely for his silence. While there, Dom is attracted to Fontaine’s beautiful mistress Paolina (Mădălina Diana Ghenea), gets drunk, insults his boss, parties with hookers, and ultimately ends up crashing a Rolls Royce convertible with everyone inside. In the chaos of the crash, Dom saves the life of Melody (Kerry Condon), one of the party hookers who tells him his good deed will pay off in great fortune at future moment when he really needs it. Because he took time to save Melody’s life, Paolina slips away and steals Dom’s reward money, leaving him destitute.

Injured and hung over, Dom returns to London, where he finds temporary shelter under the roof of his estranged daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), who is a singer for an indie rock group living with her husband (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) and young son (Jordan A. Nash). Desperate for work, Dom tries to re-enter his safecracking profession, and even goes to the son of an old rival (Jumayn Hunter) to get a leg up. When that doesn’t end right, Dom returns to Evelyn, hoping for a reunion and a relationship with his grandson. He laments that he missed most of Evelyn’s childhood and the death of his wife and her mother. Dom is soon faced with an opportunity for revenge, and must decide whether to continue a life in crime or take a chance on a relationship with his family.

The good news for Dom Hemingway is Jude Law, who relishes his performance in the lead role. He’s very good at playing a bad man with few morals, and it shows. The dialogue in Dom Hemingway is perhaps a little too rough and crude to be funny (note to filmmakers everywhere: the volume of f-bombs in your script does not necessarily equate to more laughs). The Dom Hemingway story is a little confusing as well. It starts out like other dark comedies, then transforms into something more surreal, and ends up like your garden-variety existential comedy (i.e. Love, Actually, etc.).

So, Dom Hemingway gets credit for a fine performance from Jude Law, but it’s a bit of a mess otherwise.

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