"Property is a relative term for a thief."
Jude Law delivers an eccentric and energetic performance in the lead role as Dom Hemingway, a character we might find sort of difficult to root for considering he is so full of himself and spends most of the time ranting on and on about his opinions without ever caring who is listening or paying attention to him. The opening scene where he gives a rather long soliloquy about his penis sets the tone of this bizarre criminal dramedy, but by the end of the film everything that felt unique about it is tossed through the window by giving it a rather conventional sweet spirited Hollywood finale. The way it all of a sudden switches gears on us and gives the lead character a sympathetic heart made me feel even more disconnected towards a film I was already having trouble engaging with. The first hour or so of Dom Hemingway truly felt like a British black neo-noir comedy, but the ending had the traditional Hollywood stamp all over it. I don't want to take credit away from Jude Law however, because he really delivers every line with a lot of energy. He gives a strong performance and some of the dialogue he was given to work with was extremely funny. I really liked the scenes he shared with Richard E. Grant, his best friend and partner in crime, who was also excellent in this film without really having to do much. His quiet presence opposed to the energetic Dom was what I found funny. I also enjoyed Law's scenes with Demian Bichir, who I found to be the most engaging character in the entire film. Dom Hemingway has its moments, but I just didn't really like spending my time with this titular character.
The sharp and witty script was written by director, Richard Shepard (who is known for his direction in The Matador starring Pierce Brosnan). The film opens with Dom Hemingway (Jude Law), a safe-cracker who has been in prison for the past 12 years, giving a rather long soliloquy, which we'll soon discover is one of his trademarks. One of the guards comes up to him and tells him he is finally going to be released from prison. The first thing that Dom does once he's out is look for Sandy Butterfield (Nick Raggett), and when he finds him he gives him a beating for having slept with his ex-wife. After settling that score, Dom gets back in touch with his former partner in crime, Dickie Black (Richard E. Grant). Dickie mentions to Dom that their former boss, Mr. Ivan Anatoly Fontaine (Demian Bichir), is grateful that he has kept his mouth shut all these years and is indebted to him. Dom's faithfulness to his employer has cost him 12 years in prison which ruined his marriage and his relationship with his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), so Dom is expecting a big reward. The next day Dom and Dickie head to France to meet with Ivan and collect his share. They celebrate together, but after leaving the party they crash into another vehicle, Dom and Dickie survive, but Ivan doesn't. When Dom returns to Ivan's villa he discovers that his girlfriend, Paolina (Madalina Ghenea), has run off with his money, so Dom is left with nothing as he heads back to the streets of London ranting on and on about his bad luck. Back home we follow Dom as he tries to win his daughter's trust back and find a means to live.
There is not much more I can say about this film considering there isn't really much of a plot here. Dom Hemingway focuses more on the titular character allowing Jude Law to give an energetic performance. He probably had more fun playing this character than we actually did watching him. There are some witty lines, but they just weren't enough to justify a 90 minute film that feels disjointed. Jude Law reminded me of a much older version of Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, but the film doesn't really come close to it. It does have that familiar British sense of humor, even though it was directed by an American. Dom Hemingway simply wasn't my cup of tea.