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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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Domino (2005)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Lower your expectations and you might have fun with it."
4 stars

Domino Harvey, who died in 2005 at age 34, was a model and the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey. Her rootless early life left her with a lot of aggression, which found focus in her second career as a bounty hunter.

The director Tony Scott was a friend of hers, and he's made much in the press about how his film Domino is a tribute to her memory. That'd be nice if it were true, but the only thing Domino pays homage to -- or shows affection for -- is Scott's heavy hand in the editing room. Sure to be regarded as excruciating by some and electrifying by others, the movie is run through so many filters, film stocks, and Avid whiz-bang it makes Natural Born Killers look like Barry Lyndon.

I usually loathe such hyperactive lab experiments; Oliver Stone, in Natural Born Killers, at least incorporated the scattershot style into his message about how the media fractures us all, and he used it in an emotionally direct (if bullying) way that kept us subliminally connected to the characters. Tony Scott doesn't do anything like that in Domino -- there's no real thematic reason for the movie to look or act the way it does; it's just a gimmick. That said, I didn't mind it much. Domino has been lambasted all over the place, but it's not that bad; it leaves us as exhausted as its heroine (Keira Knightley), but much of the ride is amusing.

"Based on a true story -- sort of," the ads qualify. Well, Domino is a movie -- sort of. It's like an entire season of a nonexistent Domino TV series telescoped frantically into two hours and five minutes of highlights, with all the plot convolutions that implies. Essentially, it's a string of double-crosses and triple-crosses in which Domino and her partners -- hard-bitten beef jerky Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke) and sensitive ex-con Choco (Edgar Ramirez) -- attempt to locate $10 million so that their cut of the take can pay for a young girl's operation. I could try to explain the connection between Domino and the young girl, but it would be the most complicated sentence ever; it involves Delroy Lindo, Mo'Nique, the FBI, the Mafia, the Jerry Springer Show, and a reality show tailing Domino's every move (directed from a trailer by Christopher Walken).

Dabney Coleman is in it. Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering, veterans of Beverly Hills 90210, are in it as themselves -- sort of. Tom Waits is in it -- I kind of have to give this a "Worth a Look" rating for that alone. Domino is one insane gibbering beast, leagues more idiosyncratic than the average action flick, and I suppose part of this is due to the participation of screenwriter Richard Kelly, who wrote and directed 2001's brilliantly confounding Donnie Darko. I enjoyed seeing Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken share the screen again, though it's nothing more dramatic than a "creative meeting" for the reality show. Keira Knightley poses and snarls fetchingly enough, but time will tell whether she can act or just attitudinize -- in any event, Domino is written as a posturing and hollow collection of bad-grrl reflexes, so there's nothing that even a seasoned and complex actress could've done that Knightley doesn't do. Like the character herself, she's needed only as a face, a voice, a body.

Domino is the sort of disreputable night out that I hesitate to recommend because it's disreputable in the wrong ways -- it exemplifies pretty much everything I despise about the direction movies are heading. But Tony Scott works in a spirit of caffeinated roughhouse fun. It probably gets at the tone of bounty-hunting work more effectively than a more sober-sided account of the actual Domino Harvey's life could have. I have no idea if the film's aggressively cluttered plot is based on anything real, but it's structured as a bad-girl-makes-good parable with an Xtreme veneer.

At the very end, we see the real woman herself, looking gaunt and tomboyish and almost shy, yet her eyes tell us more about the reality of her life than the preceding two hours. Those eyes almost shame us for what we've been watching. I had a good time, though -- sort of.

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originally posted: 01/12/07 14:07:38
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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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