Jude Law is one of those actors who continue to surprise me. He’s one of the few actors who I feel is just as adept in comedy as he is in drama, an actor who drips charisma and sex appeal and yet has no problems playing it all down, repulsing an audience or engaging us for our sympathies and not our lusting. He is a complete package, and his filmography and list of diverse performances speaks for itself.
Jerome Morrow, Dickie Greenleaf, Gigolo Joe, Inman, Brad Stand, John Watson, Alan Krumwiede, Karenin…the list goes on and on.
With the opening monologue to ‘Dom Hemingway’, it became apparent that this was going to be yet another one of those characters that would forever be associated with Law, and a character that would further prove his never ending bounty of talent. Yes, Dom is unlike anything that Law has done before. There are no similarities to previous performances, for Dom is a complete originality. Sadly, the film can’t live up to the passion and bravado that Law brings to every minute of screen time.
‘Dom Hemingway’ is an interesting film. I don’t mean that the film itself is interesting, because sadly it really isn’t, but what I mean is that it’s an interesting case. Here is a film that really has nothing going for it outside of a very strong performance that anchors it in a way that makes it feel almost better than it is. The story is kind of thrown away, the background details feel irrelevant and the ending feels awfully tacked on, but Law is so outrageously controlled that he almost makes it all work. It reminds me of another film that lived and died on the lead performance, and nothing else, ‘Filth’, and like that particular film, the leads are rather repulsive human beings with a breaking point.
Here we have Dom, a safecracker who spent 12 years in prison after taking the wrap for a former partner, Mr. Fontaine. Upon release, Dom has one (well, two) things on his mind; money and revenge. First, take revenge out on the man who married his ex-wife while he was in the pen. Second, get your money from said former business partner. The first part was easy, the second maybe not so much. After a crazy night of drugs, booze and women, Dom finds himself without his money, and pretty sore about it. It’s worse than all that though, for he also has an estranged daughter, son-in-law and grandson who want nothing to do with him, and for some reason he has the desire to patch things up and make a go of a better life.
All in all, this is just not fully developed. There are a lot of ideas flowing here, but they feel ill connected. While the clear influence of the gangster flicks made famous by Guy Ritchie is here, the execution falls seriously short. The comedic scenes are hit and miss, and many times too over the top and underwhelming to make much of an impact, and despite Law’s dedicated line readings, he can’t save a film that ultimately feels lazy and uninterested in being as good as it could have been.
It all just feels somewhat pointless, and at the end of the day I forgot why I was supposed to pay attention.
That said, “I think I have a splinter, in me” is one of my favorite lines in any film I’ve seen this year, so there’s that!
I give this a D. I wanted to rate it higher (OMG, yes, I just gave 'Blended' a higher rating), but at the end of the day there really isn't much to remember about this, and even though Law is great, he isn't given enough to really do here to validate the performance. He deserved a better film.