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Dom Hemingway sits amongst friends at a dinner table in a large, airy hall.
A prison food hall.
Suddenly a guard approaches him, alerting him of ‘information’ he will want to know.. Slurping the remaining custard off of his fork, Dom rises from the table and faces the guard. The information is that a phone call has just come in – THE phone call.
Moments later, Dom Hemingway descends the steps of the prison, toward the iron gates. He is a free man. And its time to collect what he is owed…
In a nutshell, this movie is fucking HILARIOUS. And the story is pretty simple: a man released from a twelve-year prison stretch attempts to rebuild his life and relationship with his family. But along the way, certain events lead him up a path of hilarious calamity and mishaps – usually resulting in his mouth leading the way.
The movie opens with a red screen; a gentleman’s voice is heard, talking and moaning. A few seconds in I actually thought the camera in the auditorium had screwed up. But the screen opens to reveal a man in his late-thirties – stood topless with his arms stretched out – talking to the camera about his penis. It is 97% clear he is being given oral sex by someone below, off-screen. And it has to be the slowest blow-job I have ever witnessed. As Dom receives his daily dose of gob, he boasts about his tool, referring to it as a “monarch”, stating how “buildings will be named after it”, and how it will become a “historic figure”.. seconds later, a fellow prison inmate rises from Dom’s undercarriage, and he thanks him.
A monologue whilst a bloke is getting a blozzer isn’t exactly a common thing I have witnessed, but nonetheless was effective; you know what is happening down below, but are listening to what is being said above – a novel sex act.
Dom Hemingway would be splendid on stage. I kept pondering this throughout the movie. The brilliantly British script and array of theatrical characters would be suited to the theatre – not to mention the brief speeches given by certain characters, and the scenarios they find themselves in which would easily fit on stage. It is just one of those films, versatile for screen or stage and would probably see the main actors rise to stardom in the world of theatre quite quickly. I would definitely pay for a ticket to see it.
Some of the phrases, one-liner’s and insults spoken in this movie are just hilarious. Jude delivers anything and everything that comes out of his mouth with impeccable comedic timing. I adore films which evoke an ‘LOL’ reaction from me; you know that classic mouth hanging open-smile-and-frown face? Yes, that. Laughter really is the best medicine, and here are just a few of the lines spoken by the filthy bugger:
“You’ve got the face of an abortion”
“I’ve had the shittiest luck in the history of shit luck”
“..I promise not to cum in you’re sister’s mouth”
“She’s pissed off and left me here with fuckin’ Afrika Bambaataa” (referring to his daughter going to work, and leaving Dom with her African-American boyfriend)
“..you have very noble breasts” (in response to a sexy girl telling Dom he has a noble chin)
“I’m too fucking old, and I didn’t bring the right shoes”
..and many more.
The movie continues as Don – fresh from prison release – travels to southern France to meet up with his old crime boss Mr Fontaine. This rendezvous is a formal affair, but Dom has another agenda; to claim his reward – namely, £500,000 in solid stacks of cellophane-wrapped cash. Taking to the money like a hyperactive child to Coca Cola, Dom explodes in a cocaine and champagne-fuelled night. Unfortunately the night explodes in a horrific car crash (which again, I couldn’t help think would be perfect for the stage – you’ll see why).
After the car accident, Dom’s priorities are put in place and he realises he must reconnect with his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke) – so he travels back to London with the hopes of her welcoming him back into her life after his twelve-year absence. Unfortunately for Dom, Evelyn holds the biggest grudge against him any child could, and isn’t so welcoming after all..
If you’re not overly fond of the word ‘cunt’, you’re probably best off avoiding this movie. Dom says it so much, that I spent a good chunk of the feature wincing – waiting. Because every time he went off on a rant, I just knew the dreaded ‘C word’ was coming.. “cunting this, and cunting that” – so often, I actually found it frigging hilarious. But yes, if you’re the sort of person who detests this word, steer clear!
We watch as Dom Hemingway sinks slowly into despair, and scrapes the barrel big time. The scene where he returns to London and knocks on Evelyn’s door says it all.. she opens it, exclaiming, “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me”, and as words try to escape Dom’s drunken lips, he collapses in a heap on the floor.
Our protagonist is one step up from a homeless tramp. Drunken or high and generally shabby, Dom stumbles around with an air of despair – but unlike what most miserable characters omit, he does the reverse; Like Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, its Eastenders turned Commedia dell’Arte, as the character who lives a life of agony, displays it in such a tragic way that its almost laughable.
Perhaps the only way to be when things go completely tits-up in your life, is optimistic. Have a view that things will get better. Unlike many Eastenders-style soap operas who bring us a character in despair (collapsing on the floor in tears, howling at the sky), what Dom Hemingway does is lighten the situation with its main man saying, “fuck it”.
(usually whilst raising a glass or two)
Dickie – played by Richard E. Grant – is the perfect side-salad for Dom. Yes, Dick & Dom (erm..) get up to antics that would make Charles Bronson cringe. Throughout the movie, you’ll hear Dom yell (or state at the end of a sentence) “DICKIE” very loudly; but in his deliciously natural East London accent, it obviously comes out as “DICKAAY” – hilarious.
One scene sees Dom laying on the grave of his ex-wife. Having died whilst Dom was in prison, only his daughter remains. He breaks down in tears as he clutches the grass atop her grave. Then he lowers his head horizontally on the soft earth, and talks to her.
This bit of the film brought us back to reality for a second. It was a very emotional scene in which Dom pours his heart out to his deceased wife, and he has his ear to the ground – as if he can / wants to hear her. Even the most drunken of fools still has a heart.
..his mixed-race grandson wanders into the grave plot as Dom lays there, and we witness an adorable bonding moment between them – with Dom exclaiming, “..my wife would’ve liked you. She even liked the black ones”
Overall, Dom Hemingway is a farcical tale of a man’s journey to rebuild himself after being freed from prison. But as much as its funny, its brutally honest and heartfelt. Unlike other ‘messed up man’ movies – such as Filth – whose directors think they’re going to impress the audience by being as deep and juxtaposing as they can, this movie is endearing. And presents a character who doesn’t shout things at you randomly (again, like Filth) but instead, offers his heart on a plate, and takes you along for the ride.