Film Review: Dom Hemingway

Comedic crime vehicle for a flashy Jude Law as a macho Cockney ex-con after money owed him. Enough sex, twists and Law on all cylinders to maintain a satisfying, if hardly original, entertainment altitude.

Dom Hemingway is the latest in a Brit sub-genre of fast-paced crime thrillers that includes Sexy Beast and a handful of films directed by Guy Ritchie or Stephen Frears or starring Jason Statham. Humor, cynicism, nasty sex, hot ladies and vulgar anti-heroes are often the ingredients, and filmmaker Richard Shepard (The Matador) doesn’t stint. The film amuses and Jude Law’s explosive performance should create interest.

Law is the eponymous anti-hero, first seen and heard via a characteristically profane monologue loudly boasting about his penis during sex as he’s being serviced by a fellow inmate on the occasion of his, uh, release from prison. Having served 12 years for safecracking, Dom heads straight to a tavern to meet his old pal Dickie (Richard E. Grant), who will accompany him to retrieve the fortune owed him in a past job.

Before the jaunt to France for the money, Dickie sets up his pal with two women for three days of nonstop sex. Satisfied and exhausted, Dom, with Dickie in tow, heads for the South of France villa of Mr. Fontaine, aka Ivan, a wealthy Russian mob kingpin.

Fontaine (Oscar nominee Demian Bichir) greets them warmly at his lavish spread. Dom enjoys the pool, keenly eyes Fontaine’s lady Paolina (Madalina Ghenea), enjoys five-star meals and booze and eventually gets paid. Ecstatic, he and Dickie leave the villa to celebrate in the debauched manner to which Dom has become reacquainted since his release. But too much everything, including coke, has left them careless. Back at the villa, Paulina has taken off with the cash. Luckily, Dom had made a nice connection at the villa with Melody (Kerry Condon), who owes him one.

Much ensues. Dom, broke and broken, makes his way back to London, tries to reunite with his estranged daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), a rock-club singer who wants nothing to do with him. He also attempts a comeback by auditioning for a safecracking job with Lestor (Jumayn Hunter), someone he knew from his youth who is now an up-and-coming crime kingpin. But Dom pulled a mean one on Lestor in the old days that Lestor hasn’t forgotten, and Dom takes the hit.

All’s not lost, as a nice twist at the end provides a moment for Dom and something audiences will cheer. This has much to with the fact that Law slyly provides his monster character with some nice touches. That hardly makes Dom a certifiable hero or quite tame the verbosity and excesses of the film, but Law does render Dom eminently digestible and worth 90 minutes.