Make no mistake, Jude Law is “Dom Hemingway.” For the slightly more than 90 minutes that he is on the screen, and he is in every bit of the film, Law inhabits this character like a second skin…like a man possessed. Looking worse than we’ve ever seen him…really bad hair and a gold tooth, Law is also better than he’s been allowed to be in ages. In fact, he’s terrific.
Written and directed by Richard Shepard, “Dom Hemingway” is the story of one man’s attempt to reenter society after twelve years in prison. During those twelve years, his wife remarried and died, and he became estranged from his daughter. Dom was a safecracker left holding the bag for crime boss Mr. Fontaine (Demián Bichir). Upon his release from prison Dom wants what’s owed him…he wants it big…and he wants it now. At first he tries to make up for those years in three days…then a few weeks and then is forced to realize it’s going to take a lot longer, if it ever happens. It appears that life has other plans for him.
“Dom Hemingway” benefits from a wealth of great acting. First and foremost is Jude Law. He has many awesome soliloquies throughout the film and soars in each and every one of them–it’s liking watching an actor do Shakespeare on speed. But Law is supported by amazing performances from a strong cast. Demián Bichir, so mesmerizing in FX’s The Bridge, gets to show off his quietly menacing side in “Dom Hemingway.” Also very good is Richard E. Grant as Dom’s ever patient friend, Emilia Clarke as Dom’s estranged daughter, Madalina Diana Ghenea as Mr. Fontaine’s cunning girlfriend, and, especially Jumayn Hunter as Lestor, who holds a long-standing grudge against Dom based on a horrific act perpetrated on one of his loved ones many years ago. Adding a gritty feel to the film is a fantastic musical score and some terrific cinematography.
But when all is said and done, Jude Law is what makes “Dom Hemingway” special. He alone makes it worth the price of admission.