Dom Hemingway Movie Review
Definitely a film of two halves, this crime comedy kicks off with a spark of witty energy as the title character blusters his way through a series of events with hilariously profane rants. Then the plot kicks in. And from here on, it's a dull slog as we lose all interest in what happens next. It's well-played and stylishly directed, but it feels pointless.
We meet Dom Hemingway (Law) just before he gets out of prison after serving 12 years for refusing to rat out his boss Ivan (Bichir), a Russian mobster now living the high life on the French Riviera. So Dom and his sardonic friend Dicky (Grant) travel from London to see Ivan. After a very rocky start caused by Dom's loose tongue, they're in the middle of wildly hedonistic holiday when things take a sudden turn. Dom finds himself penniless back in England, turning to his daughter Evelyn (Clarke) for help. When she refuses to talk to him, he seeks work from a young thug (Hunter).
Up until the mid-point plot-shift, the film is a lot of fun, mainly because Dom's tirades are riotously rude but still have a literary lilt to them. This man clearly has no filter on what he says or does, so he goes from one spot of trouble to another. Law plays him with gusto, winning us over in the comical first half then struggling to keep even a hint of sympathy in the much mopier drama that follows. Frankly, we begin to think that Dom is finally getting what he deserves; we certainly don't want him to come out on top.
This is a big problem for a film like this, because Shepard needs to keep us engaged with Dom if the story has even a faint chance of entertaining us. But as the film turns into a simplistic and sappy family-values diatribe, we cringe because it's even more nauseating than the vile filth Dom was shouting earlier. At least that was amusing. But this is such a come-down that we feel like we're watching a completely different movie. And it's one we really can barely be bothered to see through to the end.