Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is a loud, belligerent, drunk who is loyal to a fault. After spending 12 years in prison because of this loyalty, Dom is ready for his thank you. When a robbery goes south for our safe cracker, he decides to spend the 12 years for his boss, Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir), instead of turning on him. After settling a few minor disputes, such as beating the man who slept with wife within an inch of his life, and celebrating his release, courtesy of Mr. Fontaine, he seeks the money he is owed. With his best mate Dickie Black (Richard Grant) in tow, he visits Fontaine at his illustrious country estate for his reward. After a few misunderstandings mostly caused by Dom himself, he eventually receive his reward and all three settle for a night of celebration that would rival the debauchery of Dionysus. One thing leads to another and Dom finds himself down on his luck. No money, a severe concussion, and collapsed on the doorstop of his estranged daughter, Evelyn (Emilia Clarke). With a new sense of purpose, we find Dom on a mission to repair his relationship with his daughter.
Nowadays, Jude Law is most synonymous with his representation of Dr. John Watson alongside Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock. To see Law move from a refined English investigator to belligerent degenerate is quite a shock. Richard Shepard, who wrote and directed, does not shy away from making Dom a less than upstanding individual. With on opening monologue about how magnificent his member is while being, shall we say, serviced in prison is only the beginning. From beatings, to insults, and cursing Dom is not afraid to speak his mind. That is unless it comes to his daughter. Evelyn is about as far as you can get from Dom. Her demeanor and personality help to show just how rough Dom is when compared to her much more caring character. That isn’t to say she accepts him with open arms. After all, Dom chose to sacrifice 12 years of being with his family in order to stay in the good graces of Mr. Fontaine. That kind of abandonment can cause some relationship issues. This ultimately is what this film is about. repairing that damaged relationship so Dom cannot only be in his daughters life, but his grandson’s as well. With a pretty clear split, the first half of this film is entirely about defining the character of Dom Hemingway. A crass individual that you wouldn’t trust with your money but ultimately has a heart of gold and loyal to a fault. This first half focuses on his faults and ultimately how they lead him in a downward spiral. In the second half, the focus is on his better attributes. With his loyalty shifted toward his daughter and his friends, you begin to see why this Dom isn’t such a bad guy after all.
The strength of this film is definitely in its cast. Every actor delivers an incredible performance highlighted by Jude Law’s personification of debauchery in Dom. Emilia Clarke, who you might recognize as Daenerys Targaryen from HBO’s Game of Thrones, proves that she can move beyond her most significant role. What might throw some audience members is the style of directing and writing this movie adopts. It watches much like a play. It has long uninterrupted monologues or conversations with little to no cuts. Instead, it seems the director shows the film as a window that the audience only has one perspective look through. Another director with a similar style is Quentin Tarantino. He will have long segments of dialogue with very view dynamic camera changes. He differs because he often follows those segments with scenes of explosive, almost cathartic violence. Richard Shepard distinguishes himself by not including such a direct violent followup. Instead, his film follows more gradual increases and decreases that go throughout the film and with a lot of build up and a lot of release.
Unfortunately, this film has few story elements that seem out of place. The best way to describe this is replacing subtle elements with more overt. For instance, one character that acts as the catalyst of change for Dom is really obvious about it. Spouting off remarks about balance and the universe. Honestly, this could fit since this movie is often very loud and equally ridiculous. In fact when this character first appears, they don’t seem all that out of place. Unfortunately, this character returns and in quieter moments as well where they seem out of place. Another scene where this idea occurs is the final one of the film, where Dom after just a having life changing experience with his daughter, seems to revert back to his old ways. This could be the directors way of saying that Dom will never change, which kind of sucks out the meaning of the rest of the film.
Overall, Dom Hemingway is a fun and loud ride that tells the story of a man trying to find what he wants in life.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Peter Orrestad - Jun 5, 2014 | Movie Reviews