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Dom Hemingway


Stars: Jude Law, Richard E Grant, Demian Bichir, Madalina Ghenea, Kerry Condon, Jumayn Hunter, Emilia Clarke, Jordan Nash

Director: Richard Shepard

Any film that starts with a vaguely unconvincing soliloquy by Law's title character on the merits of his penis, while having a blow job (in prison?), had better be good to make up so much lost ground. And, by and large, though never completely persuasive, both Law and the film pull it off.

Dom (short for Domingo) is our anti-hero, but he's tough to like. A violent safecracker out on the streets after 12 years inside, his first call is to savagely beat the busman who partnered Dom's wife (who has subsequently died) while Dom was in prison. A borderline psycho who goes berserk (especially verbally) after a few drinks, Dom makes a doomed attempt to reconcile with his daughter (Clarke), a singer now 22 and married to a Senegalese immigrant, before heading for the south of France in the company of sophisticated ex-comrade Dickie (Grant), who has since lost a hand in the cause of crime.

Their destination is the palatial villa of their former boss, Russian crook Ivan Fontaine (Bichir), whose mistress Paolina (Ghenea) an already inebriated Dom claims as his 'present' on top of the fortune in loot he is owed.

Spitting venom, veins bulging, Dom throws every insult known to man at Fontaine; things, however, are made up at dinner, and Dom is 'gifted' more than a million pounds. Alas, on a wild car ride, the vehicle crashes, Fontaine is killed and, while Dom and Dickie are still collecting their senses (and Dickie's artificial hand), Paolina has hi-tailed it back to the villa and made off with the money.

'Penniless' (didn't he stop to pick up the giant heart-shaped gift of £50 notes Paolina left him as a consolation?), Dom must start again.

After a shaky start (the beating of the busman is full of obviously pulled punches), Law really grows into this role; you may not like this character, but it's hard to take your eyes off him.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour by deluxe.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 11 Nov 2013