Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Dom Hemingway (2013)

From the opening scene which sees a bloated and bearded Jude Law as the titular Dom Hemingway wax lyrical about his cock you know you're in for a bold rollercoaster of a movie.

Unfortunately though, the rollercoaster ride is one with quite a few stuttering stops and starts, splutters and diversions.

Not to worry though, because despite its flaws Dom Hemingway is still quite a fun if uneven romp. 

At its best, it's a cartoonish non PC verbose feast with Law turning in one of his most amusing and interesting performances and its certainly one of, if not the, best in recent years. He's wonderfully partnered by Richard E Grant who virtually steals every scene he's in as the louche yet twitchy one handed bandit, Dickie. Like his most famous and loved of characters, Withnail, REG still manages to imbue the most perfunctory of dialogue with a magic that makes it utterly hilarious.

It's at its least interesting, or most muddled, in the attempts to lend the proceedings some gravitas and emotional investment, principally in the freshly freed Hemingway trying to rebuild his relationship with his estranged daughter played by Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. It's not that it's not believable, it just occasionally feels like it belongs in a different film - certainly not the one that sees Wile  E Coyote car crashes with an artificial hand flying across the screen - lending the production the air of a cut and shut vehicle, the kind of car Hemingway's cronies would likely flog or use as a getaway. Clarke's gaining plaudit after plaudit for her sensitive and determined portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen in the sword and sorcery epic, but she's so far been ill served in film; first Spike Island had her cast as the down to earth dream girl love interest and here she largely resumes the role of someone to be gazed admiringly and longingly upon, albeit this time from her a paternal rather than lustful POV.

I wanted to like this much more than I did but, that said, don't be put off. Its fair to say it tries too hard to be a cult hit but it's still a very engaging piece that zings along quite happily and even, to my surprise, has moments of real tension which proves how invested you can be in the character of Dom. What can I say, I just liked him!

It may only be a three out of five star film, but if you like the genre or the cast involved its still worth watching and shall be one I have a soft spot for regardless of its middling rating.

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