Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Dom Hemingway

Dom Hemingway - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray

Dom Hemingway hit theaters in limited release last April earning mixed reviews and failed to find an audience. It came out on Blu-ray in July, but the screener arrived just a little late, but I got to it this week. Was it worth the wait?

The Movie

We first meet Dom Hemingway while he's in prison, doing something I won't bother describing. Later while finishing off his pudding, he learns the call came in. His sentence has been reduced and he's free to go. The first thing he does is beat up the man who had sex with his wife while he was in prison. They were divorced at the time, so this isn't exactly putting Dom in the best light. After that, Dom meets with his old friend, Dickie, at a bar. Dickie mentions their old boss, Mr. Fontaine, wants to meet with him. Dom Hemingway spent 12 years in jail because he didn't rat out Mr. Fontaine when he was busted. After partying for three days, the pair head to France to meet with Mr. Fontaine.

When they get to Mr. Fontaine's place, he is very happy to see Dom, but the feelings are not mutual. Not only did Dom spend 12 years in prison for Mr. Fontaine, but during that time his wife divorced him, got re-married, and died. He also missed seeing his daughter grow up. This causes him to blow up at Mr. Fontaine, which he believes will lead to his death. Given the number of people Mr. Fontaine has killed or had someone else kill, this isn't a paranoid thought. However, at dinner, Dom apologizes to Mr. Fontaine, as well as his girlfriend, Paolina, everything seems to be alright again. In fact, Mr. Fontaine agrees to pay Dom what he is owned, plus interest, which comes to 250,000. He also gives him a gift of another 500,000.

With this, the celebration begins. Dom, Dickie, Mr. Fontaine, Paolina, and a couple of other ladies, including Melody. After consuming too much alcohol and narcotics, the six of them pile into Mr. Fontaine's car, with Dom at the wheel. This ends the way you think it would end: In a massive crash. Dom hears Paolina ask him about the money, but when he wakes up, she is gone, while Mr. Fontaine is mortally wounded. Melody is passed out and face down in a puddle, but Dom is able to give her mouth-to-mouth and bring her back. She claims this will bring him good luck. It doesn't work. Dom races back to Mr. Fontaine's villa, but when he gets there, Paolina had already stolen it.

With that, Dom heads back to London, only to pass out drunk in front of his daughter's door. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't make Evelyn any more ready to forgive him. Dom realizes he needs to get his act together to earn her respect. The only way to do that is to go to Lestor Junior, who was a rival to Mr. Fontaine and the only one he knows who might hire him. However, the two have a history together and not a good history.

Dom Hemingway is a movie that was made to show off its lead actor's acting talents. Sadly, it was made to only show off its lead actor's acting talents, because there's very little else in the movie that is noteworthy. The plot, for instance, is a redemption tale that doesn't give us a character worth cheering for. Worse still, it fails to work as a showcase, because Dom Hemingway talks, not like a person, but like the creation of a screenwriter. The lack of realism in the way Dom Hemingway speaks really hurts the effectiveness of the movie. It is hard to be impressed by an acting performance when the performance virtually screams "Notice me!" There is also far too much style in the movie and not nearly enough substance.

The Extras

Extras include an audio commentary track and four featurettes, the longest of which is less than five minutes. You can also watch two topless women play ping-pong, for 30 minutes. Is is described as a loop, but I didn't watch long enough to figure out how long it was.

I have no complaints about the technical presentation. The level of details is great and the colors really pop. There are a lot of dark scenes, but the shadows never swallow any of the details. There are no compression issues or digital artifacts. The audio is strong with clear dialogue and enough activity in the surround sound speakers to stand out.

According to Amazon, the Blu-ray costs $20 while the DVD is a rental only. You can buy it second-hand, but for more than the Blu-ray costs.

The Verdict

Some movies are made to show off an actor's abilities and Dom Hemingway is one of those movies. Unfortunately, the lead character it too much of a screenwriter's creation rather than an organic person. It is hard to be drawn into the movie when it never stops telling you it is a movie. There are not enough extras on the Blu-ray to be worth picking up. It is only worth a rental if you are a big fan of Jude Law.

- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge

Date posted: 2014-08-14