Writer: Richard Shepard
Cast: Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Emilia Clarke, Demian Birchir, Kerry Condon
Running Time: 93mins
The lowdown: Pretty posh lad Jude Law slaps on sideburns, piles on the pounds and dusts off his best Del-boy impression to play the eponymous safecracker, recently released and looking for compensation after a twelve year stretch. A somnambulant Richard E. Grant is on hand as Dom’s long-suffering sidekick. Writer/Director Richard Shepard (The Matador) tries to give his crude creation an original voice but the result is more bellowing bore than Sexy Beast.
The full verdict: The indulgent tone for this brash Brit-flick is set from the start with an imprisoned Dom (Law) delivering a lengthy, Steven Berkoff-style paean to his penis.
Subtle? No. Clever? No. But hilarious, yes?
No. The scene blows its punchline by focussing too long on Dom’s mucky mockney musings and leaves an unpleasant taste that lingers long after he starts his slo-mo strut to freedom.
Dom’s incessant verbosity becomes increasingly tiresome but Shepard is so enamoured with his character he’s unable to differentiate between occasionally witty one-liners and endless profane pontificating.
Law, sporting a broken nose and visible gut, is clearly relishing every swaggering second. Gurning his mutton-chopped mush and roaring “I’m Dom ‘Emingwaaaay!” he throws himself into the role with such conviction it’s almost a shame his efforts don’t achieve the iconic heights he obviously hoped for.
Shepard has form in casting against type; Pierce Brosnan’s flamboyant turn in The Matador raised eyebrows along with his post Bond profile but Law lacks the prerequisite menace to make Dom convincing as a notorious criminal.
Support comes from Richard E. Grant as Dom’s inelegantly wasted, Daily Star reading friend Dickie. Clad in Peter Fonda’s clobber, with a permanent hangdog expression, he provides a solid comic foil and is responsible for the few genuine laughs to be had.
The brainless plot bounces between silly set-ups and mawkish sentiment as Dom tries to get payback for his time inside, reconnect with his estranged daughter (Emilia ‘Game of Thrones’ Clarke) and follow banal life lessons from dippy American, Melody (Condon).
Shepard wants to elicit our sympathy for Dom but rarely shows him as more than a boorish thug whose first post-incarceration act is a violent assault, apparently justified by his ‘anger issues’ and obligatory unhappy childhood.
References to the smoking ban aside, with its garish visuals and Tarantinoesque chapter titles Dom Hemingway could easily have been set in the late nineties/early noughties. Had it been released a decade earlier it may have appeared fresh and inventive instead of bloated and self satisfied.
Rather like the dreadful Dom.