"Dom Hemingway" Review

The opening monologue sets up the rest of “Dom Hemingway”. We hear a prison door open while visually we see red, and then we watch in a mid-shot as a naked Dom (Jude Law) gives a three minute monologue about his private part. It’s a scene that writer/director Richard Shepard won’t let you turn away from. It’s something that shows the insecurity, vulnerability, anger, poetic wordsmithing and self-taught swagger that is stored up inside Dom. It sets the rules for a stylistic character study of Dom Hemingway, a flawed safe-cracker who despite his bravado is just a man who wants to be loved.

After finishing a 12-year sentence in prison, Dom is let back out into the real world. While serving his time for an untold crime for boss Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir), Dom didn’t name names or talk with authorities. For that, his best friend Dickie (Richard E. Grant) has been sent to pick him up, show Dom a good time, and bring him to Mr. Fontaine. Before he arrives in the French countryside, we see how volatile Dom is as he finds the man who dated his wife while he was in prison and rearranges his face. It’s this “rules don’t apply to me” attitude that makes Dom such a colorful anti-hero scumbag.

Wherever he goes, calamity seems to ensue as his mouth tends to get him in trouble. He has an explosive outburst with Mr. Fontaine that, while speaking the absolute truth about how 12 years has been taken away from him, he crosses the line and asks for Mr. Fontaine’s girl Paolina (Madalina Diana Ghenea) as a gift. He later asks for forgiveness and is given an enormous amount of money instead. As Dom parties with Mr. Fontaine and Dickie, he crashes the car he’s driving drunk and coked up. The accident allows Dom to show us his soft side as he rescues Melody (Kerry Condon) but gives Paolina the opportunity to steal and getaway with his cash.

With no money, and a busted up body, Dom turns to the one person he can think to go to; his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke) wants nothing to do with her father. Yet even through the twelve years of pain, Evelyn is still kind enough to help her father get back to where “he can pee on two legs” before kicking him out. The rest of the movie is about Dom trying to get back on his feet and back into Evelyn’s life.

“Dom Hemingway” is one of the most memorable movies to come out so far this year. Jude Law’s performance is trans-formative as a train wreck of an anti-hero. While the film isn’t totally fluid in its’ story, Dom takes you to the finish line as only he can!

Rating: B


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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.