'Dom Hemingway': Jude Law in a riffy, pulpy crime flick
*** (out of four stars)
Directed by Richard Shepard. With Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir, Madalina Diana Ghenea. 1 hour, 33 mins. Rated R (violence, profanity, sex, nudity, drugs, adult themes). Playing at: Ritz East.
With muttonchops and a fierce swagger, Jude Law chews up the scenery - London, the south of France - in Dom Hemingway, a testosterone-fueled talkfest about a safecracker who did hard time rather than rat out his boss. Twelve years later, he's out of the slammer, looking for his reward.
Dom Hemingway, written and directed by Richard Shepard (he performed similar duties in 2005's snappy Pierce Brosnan caper, The Matador), is the kind of crime flick where the characters volley dialogue like furious ping-pong players, riffing with delight, their lines ripe with pulpy metaphor. This may not be the way real people talk, but it'll do just fine in the hands (and mouths) of Law, clearly enjoying himself, and Richard E. Grant, playing his sidekick Dickie, a devoted friend and fellow hood, albeit a more schooled and well-mannered one.
Demian Bichir is Fontaine, the cultured crime lord for whom Dom took the fall. Fontaine has a villa in Provence with a pool, orchards, fancy art, and a drop-dead beauty of a girlfriend, Paolina (Madalina Diana Ghenea). Dom has come for his money, and a good time, both of which he gets. Just hands off Paolina.
Pumped with drink, with drugs, with pent-up rage, Dom proves himself an unseemly houseguest, jeopardizing his payout, and, in fact, his life. Fontaine may be grateful, but he's also not used to disrespect.
Dom Hemingway isn't deep, but it's smart, and it rockets along. With his crazed glare and Cockney twang, Law's a powerhouse; Grant is amusing, and amused, while a subplot about Dom's daughter (Emilia Clarke) - a kid when he went to jail, a rock singer when he gets out - is as close as Shepard's movie gets to sentimentality. And it's not that close. - Steven Rea