December 22, 2014

Film: Dom Hemingway is Still Looking for Answers

 

PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Film: <i>Dom Hemingway</i> is Still Looking for Answers

Jude Law plays the title character in Richard Shepard's Dom Hemingway from Fox Searchlight.

Despite his quick wit and safecracker’s touch, Dom Hemingway can’t seem to find the right combination. It’s nice to know Jude Law can take a leap; now he just needs to land the right film.

Law plays Hemingway, a banshee of a con-man who, after serving 12 years in prison, is ready to reap all the rewards so justly awaiting him. The only thing stopping him from this dream is his main nemesis…himself. After a near-death experience, Dom is bound and determined to right his path and connect with his estranged daughter.

Unfortunately, there is a problem between conception and translation. Director Richard Shepard is best at working with characters that dabble in crime rather than the crime story itself. Dom Hemingway is a nice, if not original, concept paired with an actor willing to branch out. The film’s shortcomings are not on character or depth; it is a petri dish level of depth. After peeling back layers of volume for 93 minutes, no great revelation is found. Very disappointing.

After gaining 20 pounds of bulk, false teeth and an extremely less than flattering hairline, Jude Law has never looked better. The dialogue is vicious and he appears comfortable doling out piss and vinegar. It’s a hard watch when an actor tries to branch out but struggles in the process. Not here with Law. Had there been more investment in the Dom’s redemption along with a stronger plot, Dom Hemingway could’ve been slated for November instead of April.

Shepard doesn’t do the rest of the cast any favors either. As Dom’s cohort, Dickie, Richard E. Grant tries to play the straight man but appears more of a submissive than a sidekick. Demian Bichir’s accent as Mr. Fontaine, the guy for whom Dom took the hit, is somewhere between a gruff Yakov Smirnoff and The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Emilia Clarke has false billing, too. Her cameo adds to the story but no knowledge is gained from her performance.

Not quite ready for theaters, Dom Hemingway is great for Netflix, DVR or on mute.