Film Reviews

DOMINO

By • Oct 14th, 2005 •

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New Line Cinema and Samuel Hadida present a Scott Free Prods./Davis Films production in association with Metropolitan Filmexport

QUOTE: Hot, steamy, full-blown nihilistic filmmaking. A template for erotic violence.

This is not based on a true story but it is based on a real person. Events are hyper-realized for your viewing pleasure. How could anyone be hoodwinked into thinking otherwise? The world is not ravage-colored like director Tony Scott’s DOMINO. The editing is chaotic and nihilistic. We now know that reality is dull – even TV “reality” shows are scripted. Reality is spending hours on the internet shielded from nature and other people. Reality is boring. That’s why I go to movies.

I was thrilled by every moment of tough DOMINO.

What Tony Scott brings to DOMINO is a very sexy, ultra-violent idealized life of a real-life bounty hunter, Domino Harvey. Daughter of film star Lawrence Harvey, Domino (Keira Knightley), tried modeling but her anger drove her into bounty hunting. Her father died when she was four and her mother, Pauline Stone (Jacqueline Bisset), pursued the life of a Hollywood trophy wife by marrying a very rich man. She watched her daughter abuse every privilege afforded other movie star’s children.

Domino Harvey died recently at the age of 35 of drowning after a drug overdose. Like everyone who has their life fiddled with by Hollywood, Harvey took the money but wasn’t happy with the results. She wanted the filmmakers to show her drug use and lesbianism. (Isn’t that why Scott cast Lucy Liu as a seductive police detective interrogating Domino?) What they left in was enough for us to understand that Domino Harvey was bitter, tough, and reckless. She wasn’t interested in the family business.

In Tony Scott and screenwriter Richard Kelly’s cinematic version of Harvey’s life, Harvey is rude from birth and very angry. She punches out a fellow college student and is soon brawling on the catwalk. What’s left for a beautiful young lady to do who is obsessed with guns, fighting, and martial arts and doesn’t want to go into a life of crime but likes being close to criminals?

Harvey sees a flyer on a seminar for bounty hunters and quickly teams up with ex-con Ed (Mickey Rourke), his partner Choco (Edgar Ramirez), and Alf (Rizwan Abbasi), their Afghan bomb expert driver.

Ed, Choco, Domino, and Alf work for bail bondsman Claremont Williams (Delroy Lindo). His main girlfriend Lateesha (Mo’Nique) needs $300,000 for a life-saving operation for their granddaughter. In a hysterical scene, Lateesha goes on The Jerry Springer Show to redress race identification.

Thank you, screenwriter Richard Kelly, for being so recklessly astute.

Domino’s mother introduces the team to TV producer Mark Heiss (Christopher Walken) who wants to mount a reality show around Domino. The team agrees as long as they share billing and air time. The Bounty Squad finds themselves not only trailed by a camera crew but by the show’s hosts, former teen heartthrobs “Beverly Hills, 90210” stars Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green. Green is terrific and Ziering should be thankful he was hired.

In a convoluted scheme, the Bounty Squad is given the task of delivering ten million dollars of Mafia money to the owner of Las Vegas’s Stratosphere Hotel & Casino. Williams has other plans for the venture while the FBI and the film crew follow the Squad.

Then Tom Waits turns up in the desert as a hallucinogenic prophet.

Yes, the plot needs a second viewing to piece together logically, but haven’t I complained about OCEAN’S 11 & 12 capers that put everything seamlessly in lazy place and really strain credibility? In DOMINO, things go wrong and plans go messy. Blood spills and an arm gets hacked off.

Tony Scott could make dirt sexy and Rourke looks storm-weathered great. But it is Ramirez that Scott fetishizes. Knightly is just perfectly mean. Her Domino is superstitious about death and haunted by an absent father and self-centered mother. Even at 110 lbs, Domino is so angry she scares you. I’m seeing DOMINO again this weekend since everything, even the soundtrack, is filled with gleeful testosterone and, thanks to “Celebrity Hostages” Ziering and Green, kicks up white trash desert sand and, thankfully, symbolically blows up a Las Vegas eyesore.


Cast:
Domino Harvey: Keira Knightley
Ed: Mickey Rourke
Choco: Edgar Ramirez
Alf: RIzwan Abbasi
Claremont Williams: Delroy Lindo
Lateesha: Mo’Nique
Taryn Mills: Lucy Liu
Kimmie: Mena Suvari
Mark Heiss: Christopher Walken
Pauline Stone: Jacqueline Bisset

Credits:
Director: Tony Scott
Screenwriter: Richard Kelly
Story by: Richard Kelly, Steve Barancik
Producers: Samuel Hadida, Ridley Scott
Executive producers: Lisa Ellzrey, Toby Emmerich,
Victor Hadida, Barry Waldman, Zach Shiff-Abrams, Skip Chaisson
Director of photography: Dan Mindel
Production designer: Chris Seagers
Music: Harry Gregson-Williams
Costumes: B.
Editors: William Goldenberg, Christian Wagner

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