If the word “Debauchery” doesn’t have Dom Hemingway’s picture next to it, needless to say, someone is going to have their ass kicked!
Review (with Spoilers)
I heard of Dom Hemingway ages ago while watching The Graham Norton Show, but with no US release date, I honestly forgot about it. Fast forward a few months later and now it is bound to hit theaters in America! Making it where Jude Law will have two movies in theaters, counting The Grand Budapest Hotel, and co-star Emilia Clarke will have one popular show on air, that being Game of Thrones, and this film which likely isn’t going to do much for her career. So, with that said, let’s talk about the film.
Characters & Story
After 12 years in jail, Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is finally released from prison. The man, the myth, the safe cracking legend, is the type of guy who you’d imagine was in and out of prison for most of his life. He has a lot of mouth, a violent temper, drinks constantly, and will beat anyone within an inch of death if they cross him. But this isn’t to say he is completely a bad guy. For, like many criminals, he has a family, or at the very least used to.
He has a brother like relationship with a man named Dickie (Richard E. Grant); he was formerly married, but his wife died of cancer while he was inside; and then there is his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke). And seemingly, despite presenting himself as a bad ass, his biggest fear is speaking to the daughter he knows he did wrong. And though you could easily write off most of Dom’s actions in the film as his pursuit of money, at its heart it seems he is just trying his best to build himself back up so he can look his daughter in the eye and offer her something more than bad memories.
Something that must be said about Dom Hemingway is that is certainly can be funny, Now admittedly I didn’t laugh much, but British humor is rather hit or miss for me. Either I’m cackling throughout the film, or I simply don’t get it. As for this film, I feel like Dom’s rants and violent outburst could definitely be funny for some, but just didn’t click with me for whatever reason. As for the story, admittedly I am trying to make the film deeper than it may likely appear if you choose to watch it. For, while Dom winning his daughter over is part of the story, most of it deals with us watching this man off the rails and it is quite entertaining, though easily could be considered shallow.
And perhaps that is the main issue of the film. If Dom was just presented as this raucous violent, safe-cracking drunk, then perhaps the film could have went in a direction which would have been easier to swallow. However, with the writing trying to humanize Dom through his relationship with his daughter Evelyn, it makes it so the focus never seems solid. What I mean by this is, as I watched I figured he was trying to get the money owed to him for staying quiet to have something to show his daughter for the 12 years he was out of her life. But, in reality, there isn’t as strong as a focus as would be needed to really make it seem Dom is trying to reform himself so his daughter would give him some type of chance.
Hell, I’d even argue that perhaps where the film ended that should have been what happened a little after the climax. For, and this is a major spoiler, Dom gets into a car accident, is robbed of his money, and the first person he goes to is his daughter while drunk off his ass. And, to me, this would have been the perfect time to see him try to aggressively win her over by any means necessary.
Overall: TV Viewing
To me, I am not fond of the attempt to make Dom into this corrupt egotistical character while trying to humanize him. Though many films have humanized a would-be villain before, Dom Hemingway doesn’t find that balance to really make me say that this is worth buying an overpriced ticket to. Add on the fact that I think it isn’t funny, just some attempt at being outrageous and hoping it will inspire laughter, and the film becomes less recommendable. However, the film is slightly saved by Law and Clarke’s scenes in which we witness their characters complicated relationship. And while it isn’t as focused as I wish it was, it is the saving grace of the film to me. Hence why I say there is no rush and you could just wait until the DVD comes out or it comes on a television station.