Fox Searchlight’s “Dom Hemingway” was directed and written by Richard Shepard and stars Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir, and Emilia Clarke. It is now playing in select theaters.
What happens when you combine the outrageousness of “The Wolf of Wall Street” with themes from films like “The Wrestler” and “Crazy Heart,” and make it British? The final result would probably be something like “Dom Hemingway.” Written and directed by Richard Shepard, “Dom Hemingway” is a drug and alcohol infused joy ride led by the always charming Jude Law in a not so charming role. Dom Hemingway is a man who lives too hard and speaks too loud, but deep down is a man who genuinely cares about what really matters. Just don’t try to tell him that or else he may bloody well punch you in the face and spit on you.
“Dom Hemingway” opens up with a graphic, grandiose monologue about his manhood while in the middle of receiving some…pleasure. A chapter card stating “12 Years Is a Long Time” pops up and the story of Dom Hemingway is fully underway. After spending 12 long years in prison for not giving up his boss, Dom Hemingway (Law) has finally been released and goes about living life and making up for those 12 years he’s missed. Reconnecting with his partner in crime Dickie (Grant), the two head off to visit Russian crime boss Mr. Fontaine (Bichir) where things get a bit out of hand for Dom.
In Mr. Fontaine’s beautiful house, Dom is unable to tame himself and yells expletives at Mr. Fontaine, screaming his demands after spending those 12 years protecting this man. Dom gets what he asks for and much more — a party celebrating his release from prison with all the alcohol, drugs, and women he could want. After going driving with Dickie, Mr. Fontaine, and a few girls at high speeds, Dom crashes the car resulting in disastrous consequences. After this near death experience, Dom sets off to do the one thing he’s been afraid to do since being released: reconnect with his estranged daughter Evelyn (Clarke). All of the partying and drugs and alcohol has just been a smokescreen to distract himself, but that only works for so long.
What helps “Dom Hemingway” is that it’s written in a way that it’s so wonderfully British. Shepard has a way with coming up with the right words and phrases and hearing them come out of the mouth of Dom is a gift for everyone. Law shows us a side that no one has ever seen before and he chews up the movie scene by scene. Law put the time and effort into making sure that Dom Hemingway was a person in his own right. Alongside Law, Richard E. Grant plays the character of Dickie with such a calm demeanor and the two are able to play off each other perfectly. Adding to the wonderful cast is Demian Bichir who is silently the most terrifying man in the movie and Emilia Clarke who doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time, which is a shame.
Full of wonderful performances and a hilarious yet thoughtful script, “Dom Hemingway” is a good enough movie that should keep audiences entertained throughout the full 93 minutes. “Dom Hemingway” isn’t a perfect movie though feeling a bit stale at times and it can struggle with it’s tone. I can’t say it bothered me all that much since when the movie was going, it was really going and just absolutely hilarious. “Dom Hemingway” can be loud to a fault, offensive in so many different ways, and definitely not a character everyone will enjoy. For those that do give Dom Hemingway a chance though…you’re in for a ride that you’ll definitely never forget.