Friday, April 11, 2014

Dom Hemingway Movie Review

Jude Law and Richard E. Grant (r) in Dom Hemingway

I'm Dom Hemingway... Blah, Blah, Blah

"Opportunity knocks," but in the case of Richard Shepard's black comedy Dom Hemingway, it's perhaps best not to answer. Jude Law plays his part with irksome gusto (and downright contempt for most of the film's 93 minute runtime) but being angry and irresponsible only gets you so far; and Shepard provides Law with little to no ammunition against a woefully misplaced cast, and a script only a director (who wrote it) could love. I like Mr. Law as much as the next guy, but this is hardly the type of film you drink 10 Cokes a day for.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Jude Law plays DOM HEMINGWAY, a larger-than-life safecracker with a loose fuse who is funny, profane, and dangerous. After twelve years in prison, he sets off with his partner in crime Dickie (Richard E. Grant) looking to collect what he's owed for keeping his mouth shut and protecting his boss Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir). After a near death experience, Dom tries to re-connect with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke), but is soon drawn back into the only world he knows, looking to settle the ultimate debt.

What’s Best: Law tries his best to combine BronsonChopper and Don Logan (Sexy Beast) into one "larger-than-life" character; but that's a tall order... especially in a comedy (no matter how dark it's supposed to be.) He's intense as can be; before shrinking back to a mere shadow of his former self in the film's absolutely awful second half. His character shows no development whatsoever, before performing a non-sensical 180° at the last minute (you should thank me for spoiling the ending.) And yes, that's what's best.

What’s Not: The first half overflows with violence and vulgarity, "peaking" after the opening credits, as Dom spits praise at the camera about his cock... The very same appendage that's being "taken care of" by a fellow inmate, throughout Dom's soliloquy. Gross. Dom never relents, tossing verbal (and physical) grenades at everyone he meets, before waking up in his estranged daughter's apartment, surrounded by three Senegalese dudes (and his grandson.) After that, Shepard attempts to get sentimental (for a minute, tops) before dragging Dom into a senseless audition for pint-sized thug Lestor (Jumayn Hunter) a supposed bad guy who can't get over the loss of his cat Bernard. Did I mention Lestor travels with a bodyguard who wears a sweatshirt that reads, "Best Dad in the World." Who says the streets of London aren't tough?

Best Line: Upon arriving in Saint-Tropez, Dom begins to 'feel (like) his old self again,' by yelling at the guy sent to collect him and Dickie at the train station. 'Oy Lardo! You're sent by Mr. Fontaine, then carry my fu*king bag!' Not sure if this was his best tirade; but it's the one that stands out the most.

Overall: Poor me. Yes, me. I didn't have the benefit of a critic's warning to avoid this cinematic waste of an hour and a half. Law's act is funny for about 5-10 minutes, before fading away into Shepard's creative monstrosity. This isn't a black comedy... It's a bad one. And to think, I didn't even mention his chance encounters with Melody (Kerry Condon) the lucky penny hooker/party girl, who can't hold a "melody." If you can live without lines like, 'He (Fontaine) was raised in a Russian orphanage, and kills people for a living. Of course, he has a well-stocked bar,' then skip this movie altogether, and go directly to Cold MountainThe Talented Mr. Ripley or any other Law title, available on DVD or Netflix: You'll be glad you did.