If Jude Law doesn’t win an Oscar for “Dom Hemingway,” he probably never will. As the brutal British gangster with a soft underbelly, Law pulls out all the stops in a tidal wave of acting ticks and technique. He’s on-screen in every scene, devouring the scenery and everyone around it.
We first see Dom Hemingway (Law) in prison spewing a torrent of gutter poetry about a prominent part of his privates. It’s obvious that this is a guy not used to keeping quiet. But quiet he has been for the past 12 years, while taking the rap for French Grandfather Mr.
Fontaine (Demian Bichir).
Suddenly, Dom is a free man. He hooks up with his best and only friend, the aristocratic Dickie Black (Richard E. Grant), and heads to Mr. Fontaine’s stylish villa to get his just returns. Dom confronts Mr. Fontaine head-on, no holds barred. When his insults extend to the Boss’s beautiful mistress, Paolina (Madalina Ghenea), it’s Dickie’s sage advice that keeps Dom from instant execution. After hatchets are buried, the cash reward comes forth, and the orgy begins.
But not for long. A spectacularly surreal car crash results in the loss of a lot: Dom’s reward, Mr. Fontaine’s life and Paolina’s loyalty to anything but money.
Dom is back on the street. We find he misses his departed wife and the love of his daughter, Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), who has a young son and sings in a folk-rock band at a local club. We also learn that Dom is a master safe cracker. As such, he takes on one more job at the risk of losing that previously self-promoted private part.
Written and directed by Richard Shepard, “Dom Hemingway” is clearly designed as a vehicle for Law’s considerable talents, which he delivers in droves. The problem is that Law may be too over-the-top for most people to take. Which could be why his film is drifting out of theaters faster than Dom can crack a safe.