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Review: Dom Hemingway

Apr. 1, 2014by: Chris Bumbray

This review of DOM HEMINGWAY originally ran as part of our TIFF 2013 coverage.

PLOT: After serving a twelve year stretch in prison, Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is out. With his best friend, Lefty (Richard E. Grant) in tow, Dom goes off looking to collect the money his former boss (Demian Bichir) owes him for keeping quiet. He also tries to re-connect with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke) who despises him.

REVIEW: Richard Shepard's THE MATADOR is a film I've always found has been criminally underrated. Star Pierce Brosnan- who gleefully soiled his suave image- deserved an Oscar nomination, but didn't get one. Shepard's follow-up, THE HUNTING PARTY more or less came and went without much of an impact, and while it wasn't quite up to the standards of THE MATADOR, it deserved a far better fate.

Now, Shepard is back with DOM HEMINGWAY, a movie that could could be seen as THE MATADOR's spiritual sequel. Surely, the title character feels like he could have been Brosnan's MATADOR hit-man Julian's soul-mate. Shepard takes another suave and sophisticated ladies man and lets him dirty-up his image, with Jude Law obviously having the time of his life as the unhinged, but always sympathetic Dom.

Now that Law's a little older, and a tad more rumpled, he feels like an actor prime for reinvention, and Shepard gives him the opportunity. This is Law as you've never seen him before, with a thick (or as he'd pronounce it here- fick) cockney accent, a hard man beard, and a bit of a gut. He's certainly a long way from ALFIE, and he looks cool as hell. I really can't oversell how amazing Law is here. From his opening five minute monologue where he waxes poetic on the beauty of his penis while getting fellated by another prisoner, Law's out-of-control good. He also manages to walk the same fine line Brosnan did in MATADOR, in that he's probably unhinged, but somehow manages to stay likable. You see, underneath it all, Dom has a good heart, and just wants to do right by his daughter. And, if he can possibly get rich while doing about a pound of cocaine and sleeping with every prostitute in sight, that's all the better.

While mostly a one-man show, DOM HEMINGWAY also has couple of great supporting parts. Richard E. Grant seems to be channeling his part in WITHNAIL AND I to play Law's hard-man buddy Lefty, who's always got his back, even though Lefty himself admits a few times that he's a bit of a c*nt. Don't worry, they're British. It's almost a term of endearment, or at least it is the way Grant says it. Emilia Clarke, from GAME OF THRONES, is disguised by lots of mousy makeup, but she's likable as Dom's daughter, who's believably angry at the man who missed out of twelve years of her life.

Shepard's memorably foul-mouthed dialogue is in fine form here, with tons of instantly classic one liners coming from Dom at a lightening-fast pace. I won't spoil any of them here. They need to be discovered on your own. Shepard's quirky visuals are dialed down a bit from THE HUNTING PARTY, but there's plenty of interesting scenes, such as Bichir's roomful of monkey art (already being used on the posters) and a stunning (and hilarious) coke and whiskey fueled car-crash. Shepard regular Rolfe Kent is back to provide a bouncy score, supplemented by great tracks like Debaser by The Pixies.

Obviously, if you liked THE MATADOR, DOM HEMINGWAY is right up your alley. Law's going to win himself a lot or new fans with this, his best role in years. It feels like it could be the start of a whole-new facet of his career, as he plays dark comedy really well, and makes a convincing hard-man now that he's older. To me this played out as one of the breakout hits of TIFF, and is not to be missed. DOM HEMINGWAY is fan-f**king-tastic!

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
5:21PM on 04/01/2014
Great movie. Law is hilarious here, but the films also pretty touching. My only real complaint is that the plot feels a bit uneven, but this is a completely character driven film and an excellent one at that. A 9 is pretty accurate.
Great movie. Law is hilarious here, but the films also pretty touching. My only real complaint is that the plot feels a bit uneven, but this is a completely character driven film and an excellent one at that. A 9 is pretty accurate.
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4:29PM on 04/01/2014
After hearing Jude law admit Lemmy rocked the chops, it got me interested. I really liked the Matador as well.
After hearing Jude law admit Lemmy rocked the chops, it got me interested. I really liked the Matador as well.
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2:19PM on 04/01/2014
So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
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11:11AM on 04/01/2014
Really looking forward to this one. Looks great.
Really looking forward to this one. Looks great.
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10:58AM on 04/01/2014

Criminally underrated.

Is a great word to describe Mr. Law. This has piqued my interest...and yeah, The Matador was fantastic and now I want to watch it again...
Is a great word to describe Mr. Law. This has piqued my interest...and yeah, The Matador was fantastic and now I want to watch it again...
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10:36AM on 04/01/2014
Joblo was quoted in the trailer I saw the other day when watching Grand Budapest Hotel. I was so giddy and proud :-)
Joblo was quoted in the trailer I saw the other day when watching Grand Budapest Hotel. I was so giddy and proud :-)
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9:48PM on 09/12/2013
The Matador was a really unique film, it felt pretty different from most of the things I'd seen before then and had an offbeat sense of humour that Brosnan really made work. Didn't know the same director was making Don Hemingway.
The Matador was a really unique film, it felt pretty different from most of the things I'd seen before then and had an offbeat sense of humour that Brosnan really made work. Didn't know the same director was making Don Hemingway.
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5:59PM on 09/12/2013
Brilliant. Loved The Matador. Did you know there was going to be a scene with a kiss between Brosnan & Kinnear? I think it was the hotel room sequence. There was an interview with Brosnan where he admitted to making cuts. In some ways it's a shame they didn't go with it, the film might have got talked about a lot more.
Brilliant. Loved The Matador. Did you know there was going to be a scene with a kiss between Brosnan & Kinnear? I think it was the hotel room sequence. There was an interview with Brosnan where he admitted to making cuts. In some ways it's a shame they didn't go with it, the film might have got talked about a lot more.
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+5
3:21PM on 09/12/2013
Can't wait, Matador is underrated and has Brosnan at his finest.
Can't wait, Matador is underrated and has Brosnan at his finest.
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+12
2:33PM on 09/12/2013
Loved The Matador. There;s something about Jude Law that he should be up there with all the big actors but isn't
Loved The Matador. There;s something about Jude Law that he should be up there with all the big actors but isn't
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