Occasionally I’ve been known to let my eyes fall upon something that isn’t in any way horror related. I believe my past stabs at reviewing oddball westerns might attest to this. This week my senses devoured a treat that made me reminisce upon my years living on a small island only a stones throw away from another, smaller, island famous for the color green, a playful midget who lives at the base of a rainbow (nope it’s not Richard Simmons) and a milky brown potent liquid that many know simply as Guiness.
I give you…
Dom Hemingway (UK) 2013
Writer – Richard Shepard
Director – Richard Shepard
Runtime 93 Minutes
Isle of Man Film/Fox Searchlight Pictures
Blurbs plastered across this films cover (the US release, not the one picture above) promises an all out bad boy performance. And thankfully, the film, but more specifically Jude Law, delivers. Portraying an ego maniac recently unleashed from a twelve year stretch in the slammer Jude is, as most audiences have ever seen him before, brash unfathomably confident and lord of all he surveys.
His new found freedom though comes with certain consequences. He has a daughter (played by the Mother if Dragons herself Emilia Clarke) whose life he’s never been a part of and a criminal talent he never really wants to use again, that is if he can control himself. You see Dom has magic fingers and as a renowned safe cracker has rubbed shoulders with the fiercest denizens of the criminal underworld. Some are happy to see his release though a number still hold grudges. The most prominent of which involves a cat and a ‘grieving’ nightclub owner, but I won’t spoil it.
Dom Hemingway rolls at a stunning pace and to some, to ‘most’ aficionados of recent London crime films, its style might appear strangely familiar. Similarities to early cinematic works by Guy Ritchie (namely Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Rocka Rolla) are undeniable. The trademarked ‘rapid fire comedic dialogue exchanges’ are present and are utilized often to great effect, as too is the films use of darkly humorous monologue narration. In fact the film starts out on a high note, much like a recent and quite controversial Tom Cruise affair, with Dom giving a ‘modest’ soliloquy dedicated to his empire shattering “attributes”.
A supporting cast including Demian Bichir (Weeds, Alien: Covenant) as a criminal boss and Richard E Grant (Logan, Gosford Park) as Dom’s loyal sidekick often referred to as ‘Lefty’ (for reasons that become all too apparent upon viewing) add sufficient weight to the feature and act as a fulcrum to Dom’s monstrous ire.
Accents are lovingly larger than life as too is the films setting, Pubs, pints, n’ all (I wrote that with an accent, as if you couldn’t tell). Racous language is, as one might expect, used rather frequently, probably more than one might think as Dom has issues. He admits it, even though he’s tried using a variety of techniques to quell the demon. When Dom knocks back a few he loses control. Now this as you can well imagine might get him in a spot of bother, and you’ll be correct in assuming this element is the catalyst that often transforms the movie. But don’t assume that this is all the movie is centered on. As it has so much more to offer. Dom Hemingway boasts moments of profound joy, shattering heartbreak, eye widening what-the-fuckery and abrupt changes of direction where the viewer will find it difficult to select an appropriate emotion. It has cirrostratus (Cult’s been delving into the dictionary again) highs and sports bottom of the barrel lows.
Dom Hemingway is in essence the story of a man who has enjoyed life at the top, fallen from grace, has regained his footing with a newly bolstered ego only to plummet again to find his humility and time to ponder upon what’s truely important in life.
It’s a film I enjoyed very much (probably more than I should of) and I only hope that my transcribed thoughts will turn more towards all the varied delights it offers all who chose to view it.
All this and very little in the way of spoilers.
Your slave to cinema obscure, obscene, often forgotten but always intriguing in its own way,
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