Seeing Jude Law spread his actorly wings to create a lovable antihero is fun and endlessly watchable. The film around him, however, never coheres.
Very occasionally, an actor will be given license (usually by an empathetic auteur) to create a truly indelible movie character. Think of Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski, or James Franco as Alien in Spring Breakers. Or, perhaps to make a more apt comparison to Dom Hemingway, Ben Kingsley as Don in Sexy Beast. These are characters that are so idiosyncratic, they often come to define the actors playing them. We can imagine a world with those people in them. They are the kinds of people who have essentially “reached the top of the mountain,” so to speak, and have no further dramatic changes to make in their lives. They are at peace with who they are at the film’s outset, and their drama comes from reacting to a staid and stodgy world, rather than needing to change internally.
Dom Hemingway, the character imagined by Jude Law and writer/director Richard Shepard (The Matador and The Hunting Party), is positioned as such a character, but is betrayed by his own film. Law – actively devouring …read more