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Blu-ray Review: 'Dom Hemingway'

Richard E. Grant and Jude Law in "Dom Hemingway"
Richard E. Grant and Jude Law in "Dom Hemingway"Yahoo Images

The Film:

Dom Hemingway” is yet another sad example of the lack of originality in cinema today. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. A criminal is released after a long prison stint to find that things have changed quite a bit since he went in. With his new-found freedom, he attempts to get back into the business, while also trying to reconnect with a daughter that he hasn’t seen in several years. Sounds a bit familiar, no? The criminal in question is Dom Hemingway (Jude Law), a fast talker who wants to get what’s been coming to him for keeping his mouth shut all of these years. With his trusted friend Dickie (Richard E. Grant), he goes to visit his boss, Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir), who does eventually give him his due, but complications ensue in this and every other matter he tries to set straight as he tries to situate himself back into society.

On the whole, you’re not going to find anything in “Dom Hemingway” that you haven’t already seen before, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely bereft of things to offer. Two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law is always a delight to see on the screen, even when he is playing someone as crude as Dom. He brings a good amount of energy to the film, but unfortunately he’s stuck playing a flat character who is cast adrift in a meandering storyline that’s built on clichés. Writer/director Richard Shepard seems to have constructed this film as a showcase for the character, but he has neglected to give him anything engaging to do, which is all the more disappointing given that this is the same man who delivered the outstanding “The Matador” back in 2005. Even at halfway through, you get the distinct feeling that the film doesn’t have a destination, which is only proven even more true as it continues to crawl on. “Dom Hemingway” needed that destination desperately, along with a hefty dose of originality. Having a talented actor attached to the main character is a good start, but without the rest of the important elements (character and plot development), this was a project that was doomed to fail from the start.

Video/Audio:

“Dom Hemingway” comes to Blu-ray in a 2.35:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of flawless quality. Throughout the presentation, the picture looks incredible with a perfectly sharp image and no signs of fuzziness. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio could hardly be improved upon, giving you every sound from dialogue to score in outstanding quality. While the film itself may have a heap of problems, you couldn’t hope for better as far as the video and audio are concerned.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Richard Shepard: A decent commentary that has Shepard giving you some interesting details about the making of the film. Worth listening to if you want to learn more about it.

Who is Dom Hemingway?, The Story, The Look of Dom Hemingway, and A Conversation with the Cast and Director of Dom Hemingway: Four very brief and superficial featurettes that hardly scratch the surface regarding the making of the film. All of them are easily skippable.

Conclusion:

In his attempt to build a story around a two-dimensional character, writer/director Richard Shepard has ended up with a meandering mess of clichés that was in desperate need of some originality. It’s doubtful that he could have found a better actor than Jude Law to inhabit the boorish Dom, but this inspired casting was all for naught given that the character goes entirely undeveloped, with the plot giving him very little to do. When all is said and done, one gets the sense that Shepard was hoping that his foul-mouthed gangster creation would be enough to carry the entire film. Oh how wrong he was.

Score: 2/5

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

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Now playing in theaters: How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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