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Dom Hemingway

Now past 40, Jude Law is no longer the lean, quietly intense youth who was once named People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. As the titular character in Dom Hemingway, he is bulky, be-muttonchopped and noisily intense. We first see him in a scene that might have been taken from Chopper, with Eric Bana as an imprisoned but unrepentant Australian gangster: Shirtless, facing the camera in his prison cell, Hemingway bellows a paean to himself, or more specifically the part of himself found ’twixt naval and knee. “Is not my cock exquisite?” he roars, beginning a narcissistic and very funny monologue that culminates in a self-defeating punchline.

And that’s the character in a nutshell. Dom (it’s too distracting to call him by his surname) seems to be a braggart in love with the sound of his own voice, but his manic moments are balanced by moments of extreme, nearly suicidal regret and guilt.

He is released from prison after 12 years, a sentence which would have been much shorter had he given up his comrades, and sets about to collect what is owed him. Some of this is simple, like the money owed him from the robbery for which he was arrested. Some of it is impossible, like the wife who died while he was away, having divorced him and married another man. In the middle is the daughter who wants nothing to do with him.

Dom Hemingway fits loosely in the canon of chatty British gangster movies that began with Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, complete with obligatory (but well-chosen) 1980s tunes on the soundtrack every few minutes. The cast also includes Richard E. Grant as Dom’s one remaining friend and the terrific Mexican actor Demian Bichir, no less suave despite struggling with a Russian accent. But it’s all Law’s show. He keeps your eyes glued to the screen in what is otherwise only a mediocre movie, with a random plot that comes to a surprisingly abrupt ending.

Watch the trailer for Dom Hemingway

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