A genuine thirst for some British drama led me down a deep rabbit hole of mediocre films, the majority of which seem to be centered around crime and the breakdown of a family. Britain’s two main exports are not these, I assure you, colonialism and poor political judgements are our bread and butter (a third and fourth export of ours). But why am I bringing up bread and butter in a review of Dom Hemingway?
It’s due to the fact that Dom Hemingway is very much a bread and butter film. It’s all there in one piece, fine on its own, but paired with something else or at the very least adding some filler, then you’ve got yourself one hell of a sandwich/movie.
Convoluted metaphors aside, what I’m trying to say is that this movie ends far too early on what appears to be an already short running time. Starring Jude Law and with a supporting performance from Richard E. Grant, it’s no surprise that I was wanting more than 90 minutes with this once-in-a-lifetime pairing. Two of the hardest working actors in their field, who often yield superb results. Sadly, given their prominence together as a duo, Dom Hemingway is just unfulfilling.
By far is this down to the running time, which is inherently short for a movie with such a large story to tell. Released from prison after twelve years, Dom Hemingway is back and ready to recuperate his life. In the time he’s been gone, he’s missed the childhood of his daughter, the death of his wife and everything inbetween. The modern, warring factions of society as alien to Dom as not having a pint of lager on tap in every location he visits.
From there we get a focused look at how Law is playing the character. There’s a definite underlying tone of parody. Jude Law isn’t exactly the man you’d get to play a hard, tough as nails safe cracker, it feels like Jason Statham’s gig got upturned. But Law is fairly strong, hamming up and chewing the scenery a little too much in a violent, swinging performance that’s unfortunately forgettable. He still manages to overshadow Richard E. Grant’s flailing abilities as Dickie Black, a character somewhat close to answering the question of “What if Withnail from Withnail and I didn’t stop drinking?”.
But their tepid chemistry and the interesting script are nowhere close to making Dom Hemingway a film worth viewing. Being incredibly short means that the film hasn’t got nearly enough time to expand on its plot or even do anything with it. The end of the film should’ve been the middle of the movie. It comes out of nowhere, ending unexpectedly. Like this review.