Magazine article Variety

'Dom Hemingway' Punches Up English Gangster Pics

Magazine article Variety

'Dom Hemingway' Punches Up English Gangster Pics

Article excerpt

FILM

'Dom Hemingway' Punches Up English Gangster Pics

Dam Hemingway

Director: Richard Shepard

Staffing: Jude Law. Richard E Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke

II'the point of prison is to reform, then the experience hasn't done Dom Hemingway much good. Judging by Jude Law's opening monologue - a long, colorful ode to his macho character's manhood, delivered under highly ironic circumstances - the hotheaded safe-cracker hasn't exactly cooled down in the clink. Headed for a domestic release from Fox Searchlight next April, "Dom Hemingway" tags along for the rocky readjustment period the ex-con faces after paying his debt to society, a blustery whirlwind of activity that, once the dust settles, serves mostly as scenery for Law's endearingly loquacious character to devour. Pic should be a hit at home, where it opens Nov. 8, and more of a specialty item in the States, though the role could spell a comeback for its star.

«Years Is a Long rime reads the first of several laugh-out-loud chapter cards. and thou«h it refers to the duration of Dom's sentence, it also happens to be the amount of time since Law and then-wife Sadie Frost botched their attempt at making a Guy Ritchie knockoff with "Love, Honor and Obey." Law has long wanted to leave his mark on the British gangster genre, and his patience pays off in this case, as "Dom Hemingway" - a far stronger piece of material from "The Matador" writer-director Richard Shepard - gives him a chance to sink his teeth into one of the meatiest personalities in a genre known for larger-than-life types.

Law's safe-cracking character has spent his better years behind bars, though he hasn't lost his touch, as demonstrated in a scene where he wagers those family jewels of which he's so proud that he can open a newfangled digital safe in less than 10 minutes. As Brit-con movies go, "Dom Hemingway" feels like an extension of Nicolas Winding Refn's "Bronson," though in contrast with Tom Hardy's hyper-aggressive criminal, Law brings a necessary weariness to this slightly more reined-in figure. Yes, the man tries to make up for 12 years with three days of hookers, booze and blow, but both director and star show far more restraint, reducing what might have been an extravagant montage to a few quick shots and bringing the focus back around to language.

He may strut, bow-legged with hips thrust forward like a cowboy or porn star, but Dom Hemingway is mostly talk - and so is the movie that bears his name. Conceived in the wonderfully baroque vein of British dramatist Martin McDonagh, Shepard's dialogue comes fast and dense, layered with expletives and false bravado as Dom screams his demands at Russian crime boss Mr. …

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