Hollywood is hard on beautiful men, at least the ones who want to be taken seriously. It prefers its great talents slightly askew. Handsome actors who want to break out of romances and sexual thrillers have only three options: get fat (Marlon Brando, Alec Baldwin), get old (Robert Redford, Rob Lowe), or get weird (Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Matthew McConaughey).
Law stalled as long as he could. But after a 10-year stretch of solid, overlooked work, and his 40th birthday, he's embracing the full trifecta of notice-me-damn-it options. The Dom Hemingway Law plays seems like the usual London lout, a big-talking thief who's spent the last 12 years in jail. If life were like the movies, half the men in England would be in organized crime. Writer-director Richard Shepard doesn't have a new take on the pubs-and-guns genre, with its wisecracks and cracked skulls. But in Law's hands, his character's heart beats with fresh, bilious blood. Hemingway is entitled, animalistic, and vulnerable.
Fresh off a jail sentence lengthened by his refusal to fink on his boss, Mr. Fontaine (Demián Bichir), Hemingway arrives at Fontaine's villa to recoup a reward for his silence — there, he gets drunk and demands that his murderous boss throw in his girlfriend as a bonus. If only Shepard's movie lived up to his leading man. It's merely a frame for a character portrait, with Shepard's camera screwing our eyes to Law's performance and pasting in supporting actors and situations for no larger purpose than to see his reaction to them.