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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.87%
Worth A Look: 26.97%
Average: 2.25%
Pretty Bad49.44%
Total Crap: 13.48%

9 reviews, 35 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Tony Scott’s Natural Born Cock-Up"
2 stars

Be prepared to write-off Tony Scott’s Domino as a disaster after about a half-hour. It may take you a lot sooner than that as you walk yourself out the theater looking for a film that you can actually watch instead of catching up between its hyperkinetic frames. As a fan of Scott’s, I exuded a bit more patience than I normally would, hoping that the film was just setting up tone and would eventually settle down into just another bombastic action vehicle. Then the half-hour point on the watch struck – nothing had changed and it hadn’t gotten much better. If it wasn’t for the bizarre sense of humor that finally erupts to command most of the second half, Domino would be one of the worst films of the year. And if such a classification is saved by the likes of Jerry Springer and the cast of 90210 – well, you catch my drift.

Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley) was the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey. When he passed away, Domino moved around with her socialite mother (Jacqueline Bisset) substituting Beverly Hills socialism for fist and weapons training. At a bogus seminar calling out for bounty hunters, Domino meets Ed (Mickey Rourke), Choco (Edgar Ramirez) and famous bail bondsman, Claremont Williams III (Delroy Lindo). Soon she’s going on runs with them, exchanges lap dances for information and becomes "Bounty Hunter of the year."

All of this is expedited through with about as much efficiency as a speed freak on acid. And this is before Scott throws in a Mescaline trip after ninety minutes of wondering if our eyes need laser surgery. As if going through the cadre of Oliver Stone’s camera tricks since 1991, Scott blurs the screen until all focus is lost, literally and figuratively. It’s time to retire the grainy cutaways in action scenes. This was never a good idea to begin with and even more infuriating with a director capable of so much more. And we’re still approaching the thirty-minute mark on a film which stretches to nearly two whole hours.

What suffices for a plot hereafter is an indecipherable mess involving fake IDs, inside jobs, reality TV, the mob, mistaken identities, celebrity hostages and Tom Waits. But that’s simplifying. An armored truck holding ten million dollars belonging to the owner of Las Vegas’ Stratosphere hotel (a nice welcome back to Dabney Coleman) is robbed by a gang of four pulling a fun reversal on Point Break’s ex-Presidents. Claremont offers to stick his bounty hunters on the case for their usual finder’s fee while Domino wonders why the four they’re after have no criminal records. This all takes place amidst a TV producer (Christopher Walken) designing a Dog the Bounty Hunter show around their exploits. Blah, blah, I could explain this all day but the film is intent on doing it all by itself with filmstock reversals and doublecrosses which only further complicate matters from “I didn’t really care in the first place” to “so who really gives a crap at this point?”

Assuming RichardDonnie DarkoKelly wanted to play within the kind of reality-switching that worked well in say the Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon - its impossible to understand why the approach was taken if all Tony Scott was going to do was bombast our senses with little attention to what Domino’s story (real or fake) was all about. An encyclopedic approach is all someone like Domino may need, but consider how interesting real her story must have been to demand making a point that what we’re about to see is based on true events “sort of?” There’s little left to an audience’s imagination for puzzle-piecing what’s reality and what’s fiction when you climax with nearly destroying the Stratosphere hotel and dropping helicopters onto Las Vegas Blvd. I’ll admit such a blast would make the roller coaster on top the hotel a bit more exciting but it does nothing to enhance the one we’re supposed to be watching.

Knightley throws herself into the role of Domino and despite being the sexy British beanpole of the moment, unabashedly pulls it off as a tough-lookin’, butt-kickin’ femme fatale. It’s too bad that’s about all she’s allowed to do since the extent of her inner personality is a repeating monologue for those who missed it the first time – the first time. Tony Scott has made some very entertaining pieces of excessive entertainment in the past decade including Enemy of the State, Spy Game, the fantastic Crimson Tide and Man On Fire which out-Punisher’ed The Punisher. So why does he seem stuck in True Romance mode again? Even Tarantino has moved on from the Mexican Standoffs and moved over to Asia. As an action film, it’s the most incompetent piece of work on Scott’s resume. As a satire on fiction intruding on the reality we view, it’s barely a spinoff from The Surreal Life. The real Domino Harvey was found drowned in a bathtub just weeks before the film was originally supposed to open in August (later found to be the result of an overdose.) Surely, any real-life story which ends in such a mysterious tragedy has more depth and excitement to deserve something a bit greater than a sendoff with a helicopter crashing down behind her.

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originally posted: 10/14/05 14:26:17
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell spastic filmaking gave me headache 1 stars
8/29/09 Julian Just AWFUL and Knightley lived up to her crap acting fame as usual 1 stars
7/19/08 mike so bored I took a 2 hour nap while watching 1 stars
8/02/07 fools♫gold Richard Kelly and Tom Waits (and 2 Live Crew, if I remember right)... butIwas disappointed. 4 stars
5/27/07 Steve Newman Keira - what a body - average, would have been crappy without her body!!! 3 stars
5/12/07 The Grinch Guess which one of the Scotts got the talent for storytelling. 2 stars
3/20/07 Brian Mckay more spastic, craptastic directing from Tony Scott. Good thing his brother is Ridley 2 stars
2/27/07 Jason Is Tony Scott an ADHD sufferer on crack? 1 stars
1/13/07 Tiffany great movie. Loved Keira knightley. She is great. 5 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini keira knightley is hot! 4 stars
9/19/06 PD Pseudo-stylish film whose charicatures are just waaaay to "cool". 2 stars
8/05/06 Agent Sands The most entertaining piece of shit I've ever seen. 4 stars
6/08/06 San Lamar at least lucy liu looked good 2 stars
6/06/06 ad guess I expected much less. It's enjoyable and the cast is good 4 stars
4/13/06 bizenya it's a shame knightley's good performance in this will never be acknowledged 4 stars
4/04/06 Indrid Cold There's a little bit of substance to go with the ridiculous overload of style. 3 stars
3/13/06 elaine I wish they would have told the true story wthout trying to be a pulp fiction wanna be! 2 stars
3/10/06 burton miller choppy, random, goofy - could have been good 2 stars
3/03/06 Tanya awful, very unrealistic 2 stars
2/24/06 ES Got some chills and thrills, maybe re-watchable in a few years 4 stars
2/22/06 Jeff Anderson Not great, but it's daring, ambitious & one wild ride to say the least. Cast is first-rate! 4 stars
2/21/06 Agent Sands Incredibly flawed, uneven, and shoddy, but fuck if I wasn't thoroughly entertained. 4 stars
2/20/06 Perry Mason Tony Scott just gave me a very bad headache with this movie. Keira is good though. 2 stars
12/10/05 anka ... 5 stars
12/01/05 louis adcock excellent, one of the best films ever 5 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz Interesting and complex story. good action, but forgetable. 4 stars
10/23/05 jeff fun movie, keira hmmmm. 5 stars
10/21/05 John a great cast in one of the worst movies in recent memory 1 stars
10/20/05 asina good performances, bad directing. 4 stars
10/20/05 odditie Love you Scott, your movies rule 5 stars
10/20/05 Bob Bourgeois One hell of an interesting story even it was only half true. One you'll remember. 5 stars
10/18/05 jcjs Tony's fun style, great acting, wonderfully entertaining, splendid music, not for knitpick 5 stars
10/17/05 Agent Sands Despite the endless amount of major problems, I can't say I didn't enjoy every frame. 4 stars
10/14/05 bizenya could have been great, but has too much glitter and flash. knightley better than expected 4 stars
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  14-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 21-Feb-2006



Directed by
  Tony Scott

Written by
  Richard Kelly

  Keira Knightley
  Mickey Rourke
  Lucy Liu
  Delroy Lindo
  Christopher Walken
  Mena Suvari

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