We’ve all heard that there is no honor among thieves, but some people forget why. Being a thief, you typically aren’t around people who value silly things like honor, honestly or even human life, so being an honorable thief is a quick way to a shallow grave, unless you’re Robin Hood. Dom Hemingway is no far from being Robin Hood, but this cocky Cockney may surprise you yet.
Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is a safe cracker who went to jail for 12 years after getting caught. Don’t feel too bad for him since the film opens with him getting “special treatment” and monologuing about his penis in prison. After finally being released, he has some scores to settle, like getting his due payment for not implicating his former crime boss Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir). His old friend and current employee of Mr. Fontaine, Dickie (Richard E. Grant), takes him to the boss’ vacation home where Dom makes up for over a decade of forced sobriety.
While Dom was locked up, his wife divorced him, remarried, died and left his daughter estranged from him all because of the loyalty Dom felt he owed Mr. Fontaine. He was given over a million dollars for his loyalty, but after a night of heavy partying and then going for a drive, it was all lost. With no means of survival he is forced to rely on the skills that got him in trouble in the first place. After 12 years, the players in the business have changed, but Dom hasn’t. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Is there even a small possibility he can mend his ruined relationship with his daughter?
The story is nothing new, an old convict redemption tale that will ultimately end in a very predictable Hollywood happy ending. That is all pardonable because Jude Law plays the bombastic, vulgar character of Dom Hemingway with a grandiose self-importance the character demands. Dom Hemingway is unforgiving, profane, and contemptibly hilarious. Law is having fun with this performance and it only makes us love him more. Dom Hemingway is worth watching if only to witness one of Jude Law’s best performance in the past decade.
That being said, the story was very basic. The majority of the film is a gritty, violent, gangster-esque drama that Dom thrives in. The problem comes when the film takes the predictable route and goes from savagery to sympathy. The transition itself is a very noticeable one because of how forced and unnatural it feels. Lucky that’s near the end of the film.
Dom Hemingway gives us a character we would hate to meet in a dark alley, but more than enjoy watching on-screen. This is easily a must see performance for Jude Law fans, but the stories calculated ending is what keeps this film from breaking out of the mold.
RATING: ★★★★★★(6/10 stars)
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