One of the most unheralded good films of the first half of 2014 has to be Dom Hemingway. This dark comedy features an outstanding cast led by Jude Law going for broke in the title role. At times hilarious and others darkly tense, this is a film that proves just how good dark comedy can be when done correctly.
Dom Hemingway follows criminal safecracker Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) as he searches for his payment from his boss (Demian Bichir) and the happiness that has eluded him while remaining quiet in prison for the past twelve years. The film goes down a predictable route in order for Dom to finally find his happiness and a lot of deus ex machinas are used in order to get us to that destination, but there is just something quite enjoyable about this film. The jokes, performed ably by the cast and written wonderfully by Richard Shepard (who also directs the film), are genuinely funny and it is amazing to see how long some of them can go on for. Even despite the general comedic nature of the film, Richard Shepard is able to organically mix in some of the most intense moments you will see in film this year. The most powerful of these is when Dom’s opening monologue about something he loves very much comes under threat later in the film under the direst circumstances imaginable. All of this leads to an entertaining and, most importantly, complete character arc for the character of Dom.
It also helps that Dom Hemingway has one of the more entertaining casts in recent memory. Jude Law is fantastic. Dom is a completely over-the-top character, but Law runs with it and the disgusting lengths that Law is able to go to as an actor make the character even better. Meanwhile, Richard E. Grant provides a great presence for Jude Law to play off of as Dom’s only friend, and Demian Bichir is quite memorable in a small role. This film also finally gives some solid material to the criminally underrated Kerry Condon (Rome, Luck, and a memorable guest turn on the most recent season of The Walking Dead) as a prostitute that Dom meets while Emilia Clarke is able to do something completely different from Daenerys Targaryen.
With a fantastic cast and an even better sense of dark humor, Dom Hemingway is more than able to overcome its clichéd and thin plot.