Confused gangster drama starring Jude Law, Richard E Grant and Emilia Clarke
What is Dom Hemingway? That’s the question you might well ask yourself after watching Richard Shepard’s misfire. Is it a gangster movie? Is it a comedy? Is it a touchy-feely family film? Somehow, it tries to be all three, though doesn’t really suceed in any one area – despite an out-there turn from Jude Law that feels culled from Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast and Tom Hardy in Bronson.
A safecracker who’s just done a long stretch in prison, Dom is a violent, volatile and vile criminal with about as much charm as a dose of the clap. First mission post-jail? Beat up the bloke who’s been together with his ex-wife while he was inside. Second? A marathon cocaine-and-hooker session, courtesy of Mr Fontaine (Demián Bichir), the criminal he went down for. And thirdly? A trip to the South of France to collect his fiscal reward from Fontaine’s chateau.
Accompanied by his old mate Dickie (Richard E Grant, going all Withnail on us), it’s amusing to watch Dom in short bursts. He’s that kind of character – one that would make a great support rather than a leading player. But here he is, shouting, stomping and swearing through a flimsy plot not nearly big enough to hold him. Shepard has dipped into the underworld before, with hitman tale The Matador, but that was smart and tight compared to this more unwieldly excursion.
While there are some undeniably engaging moments – the surreal twists and savage dialogue – the film unveils a soft centre in the final third. With Dom desperate to rekindle a relationship with his estranged daughter (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke), it leaves us with a flop of a finale. Mona Lisa, this is not.
General release from Fri 15 Nov.