Strolling through prison under a cascade of toilet paper, Dom Hemingway is the titular cockney geezer in Richard Shepard’s latest film. Played with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer by Jude Law, the character is an amalgam of a number of 1970s British ex-prisoner archetypes. But in a World that has any number of cheeky chappies vying for our attention in low-budget British films, these characters are not quite as charming as they once were.
From the bad-taste opening scene that involves a monologue about his penis, Dom Hemingway is a character to be abhorred in a world of scumbags and losers. An anti-hero of sorts, he actually becomes more and more of an annoyance. There’s a quite fun supporting role for Richard E. Grant as his alcoholic friend, bringing back shades of Withnail, but all things considered there’s barely a likable or engaging character in the whole film.
So many British films seem to feel the need to tell the same story over and over again. There’s always a ˜lovable rogue’ (normally cockney), women are ˜birds’ and anyone with a hint of depth or sensitivity should be considered ripe for mockery and dismissal. There seems to be a genuine obsession with throwbacks to a bygone time when men were men and women were objects. Surely we’ve moved on enough now to dismiss these sorts of stories to curiosities instead of basing the majority of independent films from one country on them? Are we now so bereft of interest in anything outside of the ˜cockney geezer’ that as a film-going audience we must be subjected to an endless parade of Danny Dyer-alikes, snorting cocaine and committing crime.
Dom Hemingway isn’t just a bad film, it’s a pointless one. With little to separate it from the pack, it sits inertly at the heart of a movement of tiresome films with nothing to recommend it other than Richard E. Grant doing a substandard Withnail impression. Like its main character, you can’t help but feel that Dom Hemingway was better left behind bars.