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A disorienting and ultimately disarming movie about a brutal Cockney ex-con with Jude Law playing a part Bob Hoskins would have played 25 years ago. With slicked back, receding hair and mutton chops, Law acquits himself very convincingly as a profane, poetic thug. Just saw this film at the Toronto International Film Festival and it's very entertaining, edgy and often gripping, with a satisfyingly soft heart, given all the criminality portrayed. Props to Richard E. Grant as his wiser sidekick and the rest of a wholly believable cast, most of whom I don't recognize. Dom is a character akin to the crazed gangster played by Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast and you can see why Law would relish this part. And he attacks it with relish, bravado and just enough vulnerability to actually make this brute likable. You end up rooting for him due not only to story circumstances, but his basic humanity despite his despicable behaviour. I don't know if real Cockney gangsters would buy Law in the part, but I did. Worth seeing.
I just saw the gala premier at TIFF and overall, I enjoyed the film. The acting was terrific, with Jude Law playing Dom Hemingway in the lead. The first few minutes of the movie had me wondering what I had gotten myself into, as it really starts off with a bang (or a blow, perhaps). That feeling of not quite knowing what I was watching stayed with me for a bit, as the movie is vulgar, violent, funny, and awkward, sometimes all at once. In the end, I liked I really liked it and found myself rooting for Dom despite having a bunch of reasons not to. It's worth watching for the terrific acting, and the moments between Dom and Dickie when things get tense are great.
Admittedly there's not much to this film outside of Jude Law's force of nature performance, he's a filthy, foul mouthed monolith of vulgarity and nastiness, and a joy to watch, it's a true revelation of a turn for the actor, breaking his posh, pretty boy image to pieces and gobbing on those pieces. Sure there's not much to the script or story, which are threadbare and under nourishing, plus Richard E Grant is somewhat wasted despite being rather wonderful, and there are many coincidental contrivances that sully the film a bit towards the end, but enjoy it for Law, for the stylish, off kilter approach to the British gangster movie genre, for the many gloriously profane monologues and the general fun depravity of the thing, plus it gets extra points for being surprisingly moving come the third act, which does not seem remotely likely given the first two thirds. A solid cult movie in the making.
"A man with no options suddenly has all the options in the world", says
the chain-smoking, whiskey-muddled, and articulate but filthy Dom
Hemingway. Proclaimed the greatest safe-cracker of the ages, Dom
Hemingway (Jude Law, Closer) is back on the streets after twelve years
of solitude (twelve years is a running theme of 2013, it seems). His
daughter grown up, his partner without his left hand, and in dire need
of his earnings, he pursues his criminal associates (a twirly moustache
Frenchman, surprise) in search of his deserved reward. Verbose and
foul, Dom is a walking thesaurus, a drunken Shakespearean, using more
words in a sentence than one should in a lifetime for example, the
opening sequence is a two-and-a-half minute monologue about his cock.
That about sums up Dom Hemingway, an enjoyable albeit shallow dark
A watered down Bronson, a film of similar premise, Dom Hemingway is delightfully dark, similar to his psyche he is disgusting, filthy, violent and loud, but he retains an iota of charm, one of the few things dragging the film along. Bearing numerous similarities to Refn's prisoner character study, Dom Hemingway is truly a visual feast: the pumping nightlife of downtown London is full of colour and life. The screen is constantly full of greens and yellows, reds and pinks it isn't dull to look at. While it isn't as intrusive and cerebral as Refn's terrifying glimpse into the mind of a madman, Dom Hemingway and Bronson share two familiar traits: a strong cockney accent and a loud mouth.
While they may retain similarities, they are largely superficial I must apologise for my comparison of the two, they are different films, but it fluently highlights Dom Hemingway's numerous flaws. Dom's charisma simply doesn't compare to that of Bronson's, from the way he carries himself to the way he walks through the streets and alleys. While the loud and ostentatious Bronson was an addict to attention, Dom slinks into the shadows the way he slinks into a chair; sleazy and slouched. When opportune, he indulges in delightful monologue, Shakespearean in his formidable vocabulary, but it all tastes a slight bit overdone. The script, like Hemingway himself, is largely self-indulgent and masturbatory, and is surely tiresome.
Ignoring the occasionally obnoxious monologue, Dom powerfully commands the screen, even if his persona is quite the opposite. Separated from his cigarettes and whiskey for twelve years, he takes great pleasure in his intoxicated over-indulgement. For example, over three days Dom compensates for twelve years of seclusion with alcohol, drugs and prostitutes but it doesn't really work, he just ends up very hungover indeed. Such is the life of Dom Hemingway, fuelled by toxicants and greed, when there really are better things to do reconnect with his long-since abandoned daughter perhaps. Dom's antithesis, his daughter Evelyn (Emelia Clarke, Game of Thrones), is a force to be reckoned with; the opposite of her father's boisterous exterior, she is instead quiet and passive. Contrasting the pounding nightclubs of London, she sings in a country club, her voice soft and soothing compared to her father's loose and loud tongue.
Unfortunately, Dom Hemingway has little punch. The first act is incredibly enjoyable, but act by act, its quality subsides. Fast paced exposition, into an extremely average midpoint, into an abysmal climax (I must admit I enjoyed the final scene), it grew less and less entertaining. Dom Hemingway forgot what it set out to be its foul-mouthed, violent charm was abducted and replaced by a crowd-pleasing father-daughter subplot. It was unnecessary, contrived, and clichéd. The obnoxious American's shoehorned exposition was similarly sloppy, revealing the (already obvious) moral of the story in last-minute exposition it became extremely unnecessary and artificial.
Jude Law performs excellently, as does the majority of the cast, yet Hemingway's left-hand-less right-hand man Dickie (Richard E. Grant, The Corpse Bride) completely steals the show, injecting wit and energy into every scene, contrasting Hemingway's rambunctious bluntness. Unfortunately, it isn't enough to elevate Dom Hemingway's paradoxically undercooked-while-overcooked dialogue. With an over-emphasis on Hemingway's verbose monologue and an under-emphasis on every else, Dom Hemingway is a superficial, attractive, generally fun film with little depth I'm sure no one would be bothered if they saw this as a rental, but I wouldn't suggest going out of your way for it.
As soon as the film started and Dom (Jude Law) begins a near 2 minute
long speech proudly stating his admiration for a certain part of his
anatomy, there was only one thing running through my mind; This is
incredibly similar Tom Hardy's role as Bronson in the 2008 film; a
watered down one.
The accent, the pronunciation and overall persona from Dom Hemingway just screams Bronson. If you haven't seen Bronson then you won't be able to associate it as easily and probably will enjoy the character more. I don't bring it up to in any way discourage Jude Law's performance; it is a great portrayal of a banged up Londoner who's out for financial retribution. A role you really can't associate with Jude Law and he does it justice on so many levels. It's not him that's the problem, it's the character. Not just the Bronson comparison, but the constant ranting throughout the film; full of synonyms and thesaurus like tirades. It becomes very repetitive.
There are some really funny moments, but like with the rest of the film the comedy starts to become slightly tedious. It is Dickie (Richard E Grant) who produces a lot of the witty comedy; he is funny throughout.
Still, a fairly good film with some good performances, violence, comedy, and a story of a hopeful father/daughter reconciliation to add to that.
Richard Shepherd's latest film is a maelstrom of bad behaviour in the
best style of British crime comedies - it's impossible to not liken it
to Guy Ritchie and his ilk - but this one stands out from the crowd as
it features a stunning performance from Jude Law - he may have started
his career with man in touch with his feminine qualities but here he is
the full monty as the mockney gangster on steroids. Law cannot be
accused of a lack of a commitment - he throws himself in with palpable
relish - and shouts and swears his way in a remarkably winning
performance. Subtle it ain't - but man it is genuinely entertainment,
pure and simple.
The lasting impression is the tremendous energy of the script and Jude Law - it could really be a stage play in places - it is not often these days that movies create energy through an excellent script, rather than energy by effects - this does.
No way is this the greatest film of the year - but Jude Law's performance is full of sly humour, and Richard E Grant obviously loved being the dry sidekick - there is more than a touch of Withnail to the whole proceedings and he is superb.
Dom Hemingway avoids squeamish violence in the main and goes for the jugular in its script instead - it even has more than a touch of pathos admid the insanity. All in all, if you like films with some style, real laughs, and energy - and crude craziness - then this fits the bill better than most.
I am not Jude Law's biggest fan. His best Gangster style film to date IMHO has been Love, Honor & Obey which was immensely entertaining. So I took a long shot at watching this with minimum expectation. How wrong was I. Both Jude Law & Richard E Grant were brilliant. The start was a little "what the hell is going on" until the film kicked into gear & I was blown away by it. It has some very good comedy elements without trying to be funny & some scenes that just stole the movie. As for Dom the character he just reminded me of a few Londoners that I know. A very good movie with nothing original in terms of script or story but both Jude & Richard made good with what little they had to work with.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jude Law brings to life one of the most original and memorable
characters that I have ever met in a movie. Hello there and welcome to
another review from the Toronto International Film Festival 2013, I am
movie critic Nick Iacobucci for We Live Film and our next movie review
is for "Dom Hemingway". This crime dramedy is set to open in limited
release in November 2013, and scheduled for more of a wide push in the
spring of 2014. "Dom Hemingway" stars Jude Law in the title role of
Dom, and joining him on screen are Richard E. Grant, Emilia Clarke, and
Demian Bichir. "Dom Hemingway" comes to us from the very talented
writer and director Richard Shepard, and he is the previous filmmaker
of "The Matador" with Pierce Brosnan & Greg Kinnear. Mr. Shepard now
challenges both his pen and his filmmaking style, and does his creation
of Jude Law's Dom go too far or is it right on the money.
This tale tells of a man named you guessed it Dom Hemingway. Dom is just getting finished serving a 12 year sentence in prison, and he is looking the money that is due him. Dom is a professional safe-cracker and upon getting out re-teams with his close friend named Dickie portrayed by Richard E. Grant, and together they will be paying a visit to their boss Mr. Fontaine. Drugs, booze, and immaturity seem to keep Dom off of the path of the straight and narrow, and will he be able to fend off hookers, gangsters, and the high-life? Well people there are challenging performances, there are risky performances, and there are bold performances and then there is the performance of Jude Law as Dom Hemingway. From the film's opening paragraphs Dom annihilates dignity and respect, and simply shoves himself down the throats of the viewing audience. This is without question one of the gutsiest roles that I have seen in quite some time, and with some brilliant spoken dialogue Jude Law delivers a tour-de-force portrayal of one of the most likable scumbags in the history of cinema. I will not even insult Law by comparing his creation to anything else. Dom Hemingway isn't like this person from this movie or that person from that movie, and that's because Don Hemingway is 100% original.
This brings me to the wonderful Richard E. Grant who shines very bright in this feature. He is the balance and contrast to the ridiculous and outrageous behavior of Jude law. Throughout this movie Richard Grant has the absolute best facial expressions and reactions that you could possibly ask for, and he will have you laughing many times in this movie without even saying a word.
Now you must give credit where credit is due, and we wouldn't have a story, dialogue, or personalities without writer and director Richard Shepard. This man has committed to paper the best dialogue that I have ever heard that was not written by Quentin Tarantino or Aaron Sorkin, and the way that he can generate moments of sincerity in "Dom Hemingway" is just baffling. Shepard's real talent lies in the fact that he creates real people first, and then surrounds those real characters into a solid story. This director's choices of art, music, slow motion techniques, and many other things are perfect accoutrements to this world given us, and I can't wait to see what writer/director Richard Shepard will give us next.
My honest opinion in describing this film would have me calling it like being shot out of a gun for about an hour and a half, and the pacing of "Dom Hemingway" very much reminded me of Doug Limon's overlooked gem "GO!" For as outrageous and messed up as this film is Shepard never overlooks the golden rule of filmmaking, and in turn creates a solidly entertaining film that is just fun to be a part of. "Dom Hemingway" will actually take at least 3 viewings just to get all of its wit, and on top of everything Shepard creates a quality looking film.
Now there are a couple of things that I must address and they really aren't anything negative. The first is that Dom is an absolute 100% scumbucket, and it is safe to say that not all people are going to like or appreciate him. Dom is a relentless, vulgar, womanizing, violent, drug abusing criminal, and he will not sit as well with others as he does with myself. The best example that I can think of is Vincent & Jules from "Pulp Fiction". These 2 individuals are less than admirable in almost every aspect of humanity, but somehow you love these 2 guys. Next I hope that I have not built this movie up too much for people, and in turn set their expectations through the roof on this one. I just loved this movie, and I hope that other enjoy it as much as I do.
At Just over 1 hour and 30 minutes "Dom Hemingway" was not only my favorite film of the entire festival, but it is without question one of my new all-time favorite films. The biggest issue that I have with this movie is that it will not be released until next April 2014, and it won't be on DVD until about a year from now. When this film becomes available for purchase I can say with absolute certainty that I will repeatedly watch this one until I have major portions of the dialogue memorized, and I will put this one right up there with "The Usual Suspects" & "Reservoir Dogs" when it comes to being re-watchable. I have always been a fan of Jude Law and I have always respected him as an actor, but now I think that he is an acting flipping God! Nick's Reel Screen Review is a perfect 4 stars out of 4, and that's for the risky, challenging, and precarious "Dom Hemingway".
This film tells the story of a notorious London criminal who was just
released after twelve years in jail. He indulges in carnal pleasure and
more money making schemes, until he realises what is really important
"Dom Hemingway" starts off with a shocker scene of an almost unrecognisable Jude Law. His appearance is drastically changed from his heartthrob days! The unrecognisable Jude Law then goes on a monologue about his assets, which is so offensive and funny at the same time. Throughout the film, he puts on a good performance as an arrogant, ego-centric, foul mouthed alcoholic crook. Yet, he is likable for some unknown reason. His misbehaviour keeps on being entertaining, and the emotional elements work well too. The humour is a bit dark, but it is funny. For example, the car crash scene where people and objects (especially the hand) fly around made me laugh! I enjoyed watching "Dom Hemingway" a lot.
I watched this movie because Richard E Grant was in the cast. He was the best thing about this movie. Unfortunately everything else was worse than than bad. From a supposed East End crook who appears to have a King Lear complex to various stock criminal elements such as homicidal Russians, West Indians, thieving Romanians and big hearted Cockneys , this is a complete waste of time. The film seems to be an homage to Guy Ritchie but if you want to see how it should be done try Get Carter. I hope that the ending of the film does not leave open the possibility that there might be a sequel. I am not sure whether the director intended the film to be a comedy or a tragedy but the latter seems more appropriate.
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