Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir, Madalina Diana Ghenea, Emilia Clarke, Kerry Condon, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Jordan A. Nash
Written by: Richard Shepard
Directed by: Richard Shepard
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, some violence and drug use
Running Time: 93
Date: 04/04/2014

Dom Hemingway (2014)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Smart 'Dom'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jude Law gives perhaps his best-ever performance here, as a character that feels everything intensely, from pleasure to rage and, finally, when nothing is left, to anguish. He's an absolutely rotten person, and perhaps even unredeemable, but his high moments inspire giddy laughter, and his low moments earn real sympathy.

After twelve years, the volatile, loudmouth, drunk, violent Dom Hemingway (Law) is released from prison. Since he refused to snitch on a powerful Russian gangster (Demian Bichir), he and his best friend Dickie (Richard E. Grant) are invited to his French villa to collect Dom's reward. While celebrating with his new pile of cash, Dom gets into an auto accident and his money is stolen. Back in London, he decides to try and make things right with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke), and futilely attempts to find a new safecracking job, with disastrous results. Can Dom stay out of trouble until his luck turns around?

Clearly, Dom Hemingway is more of a character study of this oddball than it is a plot-driven crime story. Most of the big events are rather unconnected and simply consist of things that happen to him, rather than a series of events leading up to a big payoff. But the unsung writer/director Richard Shepard (The Matador, The Hunting Party) is brilliant at this kind of dark, vibrant comedy. His unique art direction, staging, and timing, in addition to pages of great dialogue, make every moment a dramatic turning point. It's probably not for all tastes, but those who get it will thoroughly enjoy it.

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