Richard Shepard

Jude Law and Richard Grant in DOM HEMINGWAY

Dom Hemingway opens with the eponymous character locked away in prison receiving oral pleasure from a fellow inmate. While the inmate continues satisfying Hemingway (Jude Law), our protagonist delivers a rousing monologue about the aesthetic merits of his cock — comparing his genitals to the transformative works of Renoir and Van Gogh. Coincidentally this terribly overlong introduction is prophetic in nature. Like the rambling speech, Richard Shepard’s initially amusing, genre-less piece of filmmaking tragically expends its virtues thin by about the 30-minute mark. Law plays an infamous safecracker who has spent the last 12 years of his life in a prison cell. His sentence could’ve been reduced, but Hemingway was a loyal soldier and kept his mouth shut when the authorities asked him to rat out his accomplices. But silence has a price. Aside from being locked in captivity for a dozen years, Hemingway has missed out on the childhood of his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), subsequently losing his his wife and everything he built.

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Richard Shepard and Jude Law on set of DOM HEMINGWAY

Director Richard Shepard makes tonally risky choices. The Matador and The Hunting Party are broad comedies, but they also focus on characters with serious problems. Shepard doesn’t play those personal conflicts as jokes, either. He takes their predicaments very seriously, no matter how goofy his characters may act. These three dramatic comedies, including his latest film, Dom Hemingway, are driven by the loss of a loved one. In the case of Dom Hemingway, the narrative is also propelled by a potbellied, foul mouth, unhinged and egotistical safe-cracker named Dom Hemingway (Jude Law). This is a man who loves his name, himself, and, of course, his cock. You read that last part right. The film opens with Dom discussing what a wonderful piece of equipment he has. Needless to say, he’s a magnetic character who is, maybe not a good person, but someone you root for, if only because he knows how to talk about himself to exhaustive lengths. We discussed with writer-director Shepard how he made this incredibly flawed protagonist so damn appealing:

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Dom Hemingway

After 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut to protect his mobster boss, Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is back on the streets and looking for one or two ways to celebrate. Can you really blame him? Richard Shepard‘s Dom Hemingway follows the titular ex-con, a safecracker, as he travels to his boss’ (Demian Bichir) palacial estate to get what he’s owed for his loyalty. As you can see, it’s a fantastic prize, but it looks like Hemingway should have learned by now that things don’t generally work out in his favor. With no money, no girl, and no place to go, he decides the time is just super for reconnecting with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke) and getting 12 years of anger and the insatiable need to party out of his system in a matter of days. The trailer is a fantastic montage of Law in a drunken haze, doing things like humping a safe open, swimming fully clothed with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and traipsing through a field stark naked (prominently featured: Jude Law’s extremely white butt). But while the trailer shows all of his fun, post-prison hijinks, it feels like the film is going to take a more serious turn just as this little glimpse ends. Eventually, he’s going to have to put the liquor bottle down and deal with the fact that he’s been gone for the last 12 years – especially with his daughter and grandchild. Maybe Bichir will have to answer […]

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