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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I heard of Dom Hemingway ages ago while watching The Graham Norton
Show, but with no US release date I honestly forgot about it. Fast
forward a few months later and now it is bound to hit theaters in
America! Making it where Jude Law will have two movies in theaters,
counting The Grand Budapest Hotel, and co-star Emilia Clarke will have
one popular show on air, that being Game of Thrones, and this film
which likely isn't going to do much for her career. So, with that said,
let's talk about the film.
Characters & Story
After 12 years in jail Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is finally released from prison. The man, the myth, the safe cracking legend, is the type of guy who you'd imagine was in and out of prison for most of his life. He has a lot of mouth, a violent temper, drinks constantly, and will beat anyone within an inch of death if they cross him. But this isn't to say he is completely a bad guy. For, like many criminals, he has a family, or at the very least used to.
He has a brother like relationship with a man named Dickie (Richard E. Grant); he was formerly married, but his wife died of cancer while he was inside; and then there is his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke). And seemingly, despite presenting himself as a bad ass, his biggest fear is speaking to the daughter he knows he did wrong. And though you could easily write off most of Dom's actions in the film as his pursuit of money, at its heart it seems he is just trying his best to build himself back up so he can look his daughter in the eye and offer her something more than bad memories.
Something that must be said about Dom Hemingway is that is certainly can be funny, now admittedly I didn't laugh much but British humor is rather hit or miss for me. Either I'm cackling throughout the film, or I simply don't get it. As for this film, I feel like Dom's rants and violent outburst could definitely be funny for some, but just didn't click with me for whatever reason. As for the story, admittedly I am trying to make the film deeper than it may likely appear if you choose to watch it. For, while Dom winning his daughter over is part of the story, most of it deals with us watching this man off the rails and it is quite entertaining, though easily could be considered shallow.
And perhaps that is the main issue of the film. If Dom was just presented as this raucous violent, safe-cracking drunk, then perhaps the film could have went in a direction which would have been easier to swallow. However, with the writing trying to humanize Dom through his relationship with his daughter Evelyn, it makes it so the focus never seems solid. What I mean by this is, as I watched I figured he was trying to get the money owed to him for staying quiet to have something to show his daughter for the 12 years he was out of her life. But, in reality there isn't as strong as a focus as would be needed to really make it seem Dom is trying to reform himself so his daughter would give him some type of chance.
Hell, I'd even argue that perhaps where the film ended that should have been what happened a little after the climax. For, and this is a major spoilers, Dom gets into a car accident, is robbed of his money, and the first person he goes to is his daughter while drunk off his ass. And, to me, this would have been the perfect time to see him try to aggressively win her over by any means necessary.
Overall: TV Viewing
To me, I am not fond of the attempt to make Dom into this corrupt egotistical character while trying to humanize him. Though many films have humanized a would-be villain before, Dom Hemingway doesn't find that balance to really make me say that this is worth buying an overpriced ticket to. Add on the fact that I think it isn't funny, just some attempt at being outrageous and hoping it will inspire laughter, and the film becomes less recommendable. However, the film is slightly saved by Law and Clarke's scenes in which we witness their characters complicated relationship. And while it isn't as focused as I wish it was, it is the saving grace of the film to me. Hence why I say there is no rush and you could just wait until the DVD comes out or it comes on a television station.
Ben Kingsley did it in 'Sexy Beast,' Tom Hardy did it in 'Bronson' and
now Jude Law 'thugs up' in Dom Hemingway. And as most will be aware,
Law is best known for his dramatic performances, where he plays softer,
more gentile characters. Therefore, you can't blame him for wanting to
try something a little different. Here, in 'Dom Hemingway' he plays the
titular role of a convict released from prison and attempting to get
back into his old ways.
Now, if you read any of the publicity for the film, you'll keep seeing the phrase 'larger than life' used to describe Jude Law's character. That, in my opinion is a very kind use of language. I would describe the character of Dom Hemingway as 'loud, foul-mouthed and very annoying.' I have nothing against bad or offensive leading characters/antiheros, but Hemingway is just too unlikeable to feel anything for. He just lurches from one scene to the next where he goes in, acts nice and friendly, only to degenerate into swearing loudly at someone or cracking their head open.
Fair play to Jude Law he plays the part of a horrible character well. However, his character would be better suited as the 'bad guy' in a film, rather than someone we're supposed to like. The film got me thinking of 'Layer Cake' where Daniel Craig was the 'hero' despite being a drug dealer and criminal in general. However, despite his dodgy lifestyle, he was well-mannered and decent and therefore a lot easier to think of as a hero.
Fans of Jude Law will appreciate the performance he gives. However, I can't see many people actually 'liking' the character he plays, which is a shame, because the character of 'Dom Hemingway' would probably be perfect as the villain in some sort of British gangster movie directed by Guy Richie.
This is a watered down "Broson" except it just isn't as raw or good as
"Broson". It's more stylish and I could tell at the beginning Jude Law
was trying to do his best Broson impression. But it's nowhere near as
convincing or powerful as Tom Hardy. Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) isn't as
cool or likable as Broson, but despite his super narcissistic and
selfish actions he does have a conscience and a code he stands by. I
don't know, but there is just something about men with certain codes
that makes them stand out. This movie however although not all that
satisfying does a good job of building up the character Dom Hemingway
to the point of getting the audiences to sympathize with him. I did
also like the erratic direction of it all, I expected the movie to go
in a certain direction but it goes in another completely different one.
Overall this is a watchable flick, just not really a satisfying one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jude Law plays the titular character, who has just been released from
chokey after twelve years and wants what he is owed for not opening his
He meets up with one handed Richard E. Grant and travel to get his money. After a night of debauchery and a car accident, he loses his money and has to start again from scratch, first trying to bond with his estranged daughter.
And to get his loot back.....
Its a mix of a lot of films. Most notably Sexy Beast, Bronson, and Payback. But unlike those movies, it's weirdly bland, despite the psychedelic feel the movie has (almost Sixties like) and a wonderful performance from Law.
The first couple of acts are brilliant. Lots of swearing and cockney wide boys giving it the big one, and all the while Law, spouting out lines like a Cannon, and looking like something from Life on Mars.
But as soon as we look deeper into Dom Hemingway, the person, you found out that Dom Hemingway,mother film, is rather shallow and not as funky as the first two acts suggest.
It's when we meet his daughter, and catch up with his past, that the film loses his way, when Dom is becoming more of a real person, not the pantomime character he was to begin with, as if the makers are struggling to make him 'normal'.
But it's still watchable, Law is brilliant, and its funny in places, just a little too bland come the finale.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jude Law's latest film, Dom Hemingway, which is finally making its way
to America, is a rather disappointing tale of a man who just cannot
find any good luck.
The movie starts out with one of the funniest openings ever. I won't spoil it, mainly because it is grossly inappropriate and over the top. With an opening like that, one would think that the rest of the movie would be a hilarious ride, but that simply, in my opinion, is the funniest part of the movie. Dom has been in jail for 12 years for keeping his mouth shut and not ratting out his boss. Now that he is out, he wants to get what he deserves; a lot of money. So we follow him and his friend Dickie, played by Richard E. Grant, to the French villa where Dom's boss is. Of course, things don't go as planned and Dom ends up with no money.
What I just explained was about 30 minutes of the 90 minute movie. The script was very poor. Some things in the movie just don't make sense. Like how Dom winds up at his estranged daughter's doorstep in England in the middle of the night minutes after being at the French villa, I mean the guy who wrote this must have written Heroes too. The first act is pretty solid, but once acts 2 and 3 come along, it gets hard to see any sort of sense in the structuring of the plot. Once Dom finds his daughter, played by Emilia Clarke (Daenerys on Game of Thrones), one might think he does not need the money after all and he can start to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Nope, instead she only gets about 10 minutes of screen time and Dom goes off to find a job from some guy he knew from before he went to prison. Yes, he basically forgets all about his lost money once he gets back to England. The movie could have been a lot better if we had gotten more time with his daughter, because then we could have gotten some sort of emotion in the film.
Jude Law is quite good in the film, if not a bit over-the-top like the script. He is a man who has terrible luck, but he also lives very unhealthy lifestyles. His wife died while he was in prison, he has sex with hookers, snorts cocaine, and is constantly drinking some sort of alcoholic beverage. He carries the film with tremendous force and we see both his highs and lows. He "DOMinates" the screen, and only Grant comes close to equaling his screen time.
In the end the movie is nonsensical and almost void of all emotion. The best joke is used at the very beginning, even before we get the title of the film. A lot of the time when watching this, the jokes seemed to have a bit of a delayed reaction among the audience. I'm not sure if it's because the jokes were bad or what, but there was definitely a lot of silence before a late laugh. It feels like the movie should have had about a third of the scenes cut out and replaced by more of the relationship between Dom and his daughter. So, if you want to see a decent movie that has a great performance from Jude Law, but not much else, check this one out.
In fact, just wait until it comes out on DVD.
For more reviews, check out ragingfilm.com
"Oh. I'll tell you who I am. I'm the f- who'll tear your nose off with
my teeth. I'm the f- who will gut you with a dull cheese knife and sing
Gilbert and Sullivan while I do it. I'm the f- who'll dump your dead
body in a freezing cold lake and watch you sink to the bottom like so
much s-. I am that f-. That's the f- who I am." Dom Hemingway (Jude
If you agree Matthew McConaughey deserved the Oscar last year in Dallas Buyers Club, playing a reprobate turned good, then you will agree Jude law in Brit gangster comedy Dom Hemingway should be nominated: He's better than the very good Matthew with a less redeemable character.
From the opening quote, Dom carries the physical and verbal venom built from 12 years in prison (because he would not rat on the leader of a heist). His language is both profane and ingenious, a mind rich with imagination but untutored. After awhile, his metaphors and quotes from the likes of Shakespeare help to broaden our appreciation for a wild cockney hood on a long rehab.
The richness of language is not restricted to Dom, for buddy Dickie (Richard E. Grant in a solidly entertaining role) describes a kingpin: "He was raised in a Russian orphanage and kills people for a living. Of course he has a well-stocked bar." Hoodlum leader Lestor (Jumayn Huntere) tells Dom in similarly inventive language, "See, there is a part of me that wants to put you in the trunk of my sister's Prius, drive you up to Canvey Island and bury you up to your thick f----ng neck, cover your fat f----ng face in hamburger patties and let the creatures of the night eat you to death while I watch."
Law's Dom is ever analyzing his brutality, the first step toward balancing his life: "Oh, my head is throbbing. It's f----n' throbbin', Dickie. Like a disco in my head. Like a f----ng Manila disco full of transvestites and suckling pigs." His demons are real in his head.
For an ex-con, gaining back the money he lost in the heist is an obsession leading him into anti-social actions ("I got anger issues."), but he's smart enough to see that more satisfactory than those millions is reconciliation with his daughter, whom he abandoned as a child along with her cancer -infected mother. Although these reflections slow the film, they provide a reason for his redemption.
Yet, this all leads to an arguably realistic ending in which an incantation by a woman he saved comes to his rescue too conveniently. However, his change of fortune also accommodates Dom's natural inclination for larceny, a nice touch that doesn't compromise a story seeming to aim at a sappy ending.
This unusual comedy combines the ridiculous with the realistic, and director-writer Richard Shepard makes it, as Dom says, "easy, peasy lemon squeezy."
Dom Hemingway reminded me a lot of films I've seen(ie, filth) and even
the narrative structure is sort of familiar. But although the film can
hardly be a original mind-blower, it does teem with hilarious
conversation and thanks to Law's hard work. This film is not bad. I've
noticed a pattern here for those superficially unconventional movies
ranked R only because of good old blasphemy and nudity rather a deeper
and darker theme but main audience are adults e who are in seek of fun
thus essentially a mainstream ones like Dom Hemingway. The lead role
are often casted by pretty faced actors so they can be "overweight and
under-shaved but still don't give a toss", and are extremely narcissist
about themselves, strutting around in three-pieces that soaked in
whiskey and fags, annoyingly loquacious and mutter their tirade with
visible spit. But as the storyline unfolds you'll see their own fatal
flaws and troubled mentality etc,etc,otherwise wheres the fun. And
after a sequence of hustle with hilarious dialogue and witticism and
probably some grotesque and unearthly events and probably some nudity
toppings, they lead role endured some sort of epiphany and end. The
trendy thing to do is probably to comicalize, makes normal conversation
comical with ticker-tape laughter-provoking verbiage, dramatize the
drugs and parties and coincidence.
Im not trying to do a smartass parody here, I still think Jude Law had really tried to deliver a vivid Dom Hemingway, thrusting outta jail after 12 years for his foreseeable fortune and imperative retribution and long overdue daughter. And I did enjoy some of the funny moments(i.e.where are you going, to find dry cloth, where are you going, to find my bloody money) But derivatives' artistic value is always inferior to the original and iconoclastic ones, this film simply cannot be remember for long despite his exuberant color and sharp fast pace. Making a breakthrough requires more than gaining an extra 20 pound or mild hardcore content for an increasingly insatiable and fastidious audience.
Review: This movie starts of well and you do get to see Jude Law in a
different light, but in all, it's just about a foul mouth geezer who
seems to get away with everything. There wasn't much point to the film,
although there is a moral to be learnt, but it just dries up after a
while. After all the outrageous situations run out of steam, the
storyline gets a bit weak but you can't fault Jude Law on his great
performance. When he is brought face to face with his only weakness,
you do get to see another side to Dom, who is a proper crazy
individual, but the movie could have been a whole lot better if he
wasn't chatting so much pointless rubbish and the storyline actually
went somewhere. Watchable!
Round-Up: The chemistry between Dom and Dickie was great because they both have totally different personalities. You don't really get to see then at work, but the situations that they get into were great to watch them get out of. You can see that Jude Law put on weight for the role, which made the character more believable, but I couldn't take his silly one liners and his ridiculous conversations that don't go anywhere. After the shock value goes, the director ran out of steam, but it's worth a watch just to see how mad Dom is. The whole daughter storyline slowed down the movie and took away the mad side of Dom, which was what made the movie interesting, but you do end up sticking with the film just to see what Dom is going to do next.
Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $10,000 (Terrible!)
I recommend this movie to people who are into there about a guy who leaves prison and tries and get is life back together. 4/10
Its really a blended film , dense with meanings and mainly mockeries of
the bizarre world we live in. And thats where the comedy lies. Don't
try to find " funny scenes" or lines. This is a complex film , that
works out great as a whole. Richard Shepard basically mocks
contemporary life with his irony , something familiar with his line of
work in general as a writer/director. And i personally enjoy it , when
its witty and not banal, not too obvious. And it certainly isn't that
obvious here , which justifies why so many people misjudged it in a
ridiculous 6.5 rating.
Jude Law's performance is spectacular. I mean ... what was that ??? Immense nerve ,great adjustment into the psychology of the unlucky dramatic criminal whose daughter hates him.
I guess you can claim it is a character driven film , but do consider its not just that.
And i guess thats what a contemporary film really is. It is complex and intricate , because there are so many predecessors , and life today is so weird in complex ways , you need to portray some of it , if you want to produce current auras.
Thats what its all about. And it succeeds it with great, real dialog , great acting , good plot development and solid direction and photography.
I feel sorry for people who saw this and said " shallow story " or
that it copies Guy Richie or a 2008 film Bronson.
Stop taking things for granted , erase your prejudice , be aware that there certainly is obscene language and scenes , although not way far out , unless you're a nun or an ultra conservative in which case avoid this film.
Otherwise , go watch it and judge for yourself. - 8/10
'A man with no option had all the options in the world', 'I got a face like an abortion' , these are just two of the flaccid witticisms on offer in this outing. This film walks a fine line between utter garbage and tongue in cheek ironic observation. It's funny and I laughed a lot, but I was laughing at it, not with it. I do like Jude law so maybe I persevered with it for him. The story is old and tested and probably best left alone in 2014. I may have felt differently about it if get carter and performance hadn't been over 30 years old. It just lacks any originality both in terms of story and character. If this film really needed to be made, it might have been cool to include a talking dog or wise cracking parrot, or something that would sign post the fact that it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's a comedy film and it's funny, so there we are then.
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