Dom Hemingway, 2013, UK
Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) has just been released from prison after serving 12 years. He’s a renowned safecracker, and served a lengthy sentence for keeping his mouth shut about his boss, Mr. Fontaine (Demián Bichir). Reunited with his best friend, Dickie (Richard E. Grant), Dom travels to visit Fontaine to collect his reward. When the trip doesn’t go as planned, Dom decides to try to make things right with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke).
The film wasn’t quite what I expected. It’s billed as a black comedy/drama, and I suppose I was thinking it would be funnier than it was. There were funny moments, but I’d emphasize that it is more of a drama than a comedy. It’s one of those “the funniest parts are in the trailer” types of movie.
Law was incredible as Dom. He’s over-the-top, outrageous, and just fascinating to watch on screen. He’s a foul, brutish character, but he’s also just likable enough that you end up rooting for him. He makes the movie worth watching. The film came out last year, so I imagine it would have been eligible for this year’s Oscars. Had last year not been as strong a year for film as it was, I could have seen Law getting a nomination. I think this may have been my favourite performance of his. It’s completely different from anything he’s ever done.
Dom Hemingway doesn’t really know what it wants to be. Is it a crime drama? Or is it a family drama? It tries to be both, but there’s an awkward shift mid-way through the film that really hurts it. It’s a shame, really, because Dom is a fascinating character, but the story really isn’t there to support the rest of the movie. The other characters ring hollow, and aren’t particularly interesting to watch. The father/daughter storyline could have been touching, but, unfortunately it was devoid of any emotional significance. It’s really too bad.
I ended up seeing the film in theatres, but I think it’s one that you would be better off renting. The story doesn’t quite stand up, but Law’s performance saves it, and makes it worth watching.