Dom Hemingway (2013) – Review

“You look good Dom, you really do.”
“Well, what can I say, I’m a handsome fucker.”
Before we go any further, you might be as well stopping for a moment and forget what you think you know about this film. Forget the lukewarm reviews, the mostly closed minds regarding its inspiration and the comparisons to other lunatics that you may have read Jude Law’s performance is similar to.

Dom Hemingway, if anything, is a possible victim of the quality and success of British films made that feature a cockney villain at its rabid, voluminous, beating heart. And there have been many, but to take nothing away from this feature, this is quite a different animal. Yes, the lead is a criminal, hailing from the capital, but the similarity to others really ends there.

For starters, Dom Hemingway is often less clinical than its counterparts. There is a perceived warmth that pervades throughout as Dom, the character, is neither pigeon-holed as a hapless, hoodwinked loser any more than the out-and-out mad-as-a-box-of-frogs that many reivewers would have you believe. In this respect the film is a little more subtle, taking a less travelled and much less obvious route to the end of a personal journey that is ultimately about more than just financial reward what for he believes he is owed.
And the success of this is down to the excellent performances from Law and sidekick Richard E. Grant, who plays Eddie, the one-handed best friend from before Dom went into prison, serving twelve years when he could have blurted out the names of the guilty and got out much quicker. Their interactions are excellent, and whether they are indeed best friends in real life or not, their chemistry suggests they are eminently happy in each others company, be it professional or social.
The style of the film too refuses to bow to what is believed to be de rigeur. This is less sharp and violent in design with cutaways in editing making important scenes more langorous and considered. Rather than the breakneck hedonism favoured by many, fans of acting mechanics will get their fill with ample chance to breathe in every scene instead of fighting for air like a man drowning in style over substance.
At times it is poetic. Dom has a lyrical bent and his choice to elucidate with flourishes is welcome. Much like Tom Hardy’s Bronson, he has a flair for the dramatic and this comes across in a script that is probably, after the performance of Law, probably the best thing about the whole film.
Whilst the story is a little light and simplistic for those that would like something more complicated than ewhat is offered, this is made up for by the great acting and smart wordplay. Most of the scenes do work, but a couple will have you scratching your head, if only for their relevant value.
Overall, however, a treat for fans of Jude Law and Richard E. Grant, who can’t work enough in my humble opinion, even if he were permanently in front a camera. It has plenty of smarts and an awareness of what it doesn’t want to be, which it achieves admirably. Very loud, very shouty, very vulgar. It’s no Lock Stock, a fact of which I’m sure it will be proud, so don’t expect an ppearance Vinnie Jones at any point. Good rowdy fun with some great acting chops throughout.

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