Jude Law has always been a good actor (he has — save the cynical eyebrow-lifts, everyone), but thanks to the Hollywood rumour mill, his personal life began eclipsing his career, so he was soon affiliated with romantic comedies and Sherlock Holmes (which was great, by the way, thank you very much) despite his continued work in theatre and cinema.
Well, now the world can finally take a chill pill and recognize: thanks to Law's turn in the British gangster film, Dom Hemingway (about a recently jailed safe-cracker, who's back on the streets to take back what's owed to him), he's about to be taken all kinds of seriously. Again.
Having premiered this week at TIFF, the film and Law are both garnering seemingly endless critical praise, with the likes of Variety dubbing Law's role one "that could spell a comeback for its star." Cool!
That said, the term "comeback" is pretty cruel — especially since it's not like Jude Law has been holed up in a castle ala Batman doing nothing for years. When he first broke the U.S. in 2004 (a.k.a the year that inspired Chris Rock's "Who the hell is Jude Law?" Oscar joke in 2005 that led to Sean Penn defending him onstage accepting his), the actor appeared in no fewer than six films before continuing a momentous workload until, well, this very minute. However, where films like Closer and Cold Mountain saw Oscar and critical bait, movies like The Holiday were critically condemned (despite obviously being now Christma staples), which only added to the judgement, gossip, and everything else thanks to his then-relationship with Sienna Miller. But wait: why should that have anything to do with his career trejctory?
Contrary to popular belief, Law's career has been consistently bankable since his 2004 film explosion. Last year he starred in Joe Wright's Anna Karenina, while 2011 saw a turn in Contagion. He's been acting onstage in London, revived his role in the Sherlock Holmes sequel, and as the doctor, helped this year's Side Effects a likeable hit. Since, Sienna Miller has a baby with her fiance. Law himself is living his life. So don't call it a "comeback": call it what it is, critic pals — a return to the Oscar circle.
And if that's how we gauge the worth of an actor, then we should let Leonardo DiCaprio know, who's yet to receive a nomination for one of those. Oscar fodder does not a great actor make.
So let's all hang out and watch Dom Hemingway already, and remind ourselves that maybe we need to wonder why anyone feels like they owe us or the industry a so-called "comeback."