Domino (2005) Tony Scott
Production Budget: $50 million
Worldwide Gross: $20 million
I have watched this movie several times, and have gotten a migraine every time. I really didn’t want to watch it again, but for the purposes of making a clear review I had to. I am usually very nice when it comes to reviewing a movie. Some may even say too nice, but I always want to pick the silver lining out of any cloud. Not Domino. I fucking hate Domino.
I suppose it really doesn’t help when I hate the main character. This is supposedly based on the real life story of Domino Harvey. Harvey was the daughter of a wealthy family who rejected the life of a model (allegedly, there is little proof of that claim) to be a bounty hunter. Now this movie is based on a true story much in the same way that Hostel is based on a true story. In short, the movie keeps the names and makes everything else up. It’s like Scott knew that a story about some girl who became a bounty hunter wasn’t going to be interesting enough to put asses in the seats so he had to make up some crazy story about millions being stolen, and Afgan bombers, and a heist plot involving a casino, the mob, and the FBI. Domino’s story loses a bit of the glamor when you find out no one was harmed/killed during her bounty hunting, that there were no crazy schemes, that the real Domino Harvey was arrested for distributing meth, and that she died shortly thereafter of an overdose of fentanyl.
Okay Moses, so this movie isn’t trying to be some biography but some dumb action movie. How does it do in that regard? It still sucks and I still hate the character of Domino. A character makes a comment to Domino late in the movie that he thinks she is faking the tough girl act and is just some girl with daddy issues. I get the feeling we are supposed to be smirking with Domino in rejecting that claim because by now we are suppose to know her so much better than this stranger. We are supposed to know there is some deep meaning behind what she is doing and that she is a special person. No, I agree that she is putting on a tough act and has daddy issues. Do I think the real Domino is like that? No. I think the movie sucks in showing us why to care about this Domino. It doesn’t help Keira Knightly is terrible in this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Keira Knightly. I think she is a very good actress and like her in most everything. But she is TERRIBLE as Domino. She is unconvincing (understatement of the year) trying to act tough by mumbling half hearted bad ass lines and giving her ‘mean look’ (which looks like she is pouting because she didn’t get dessert with dinner). There is a scene where she supposedly uses her wits and sex appeal to get out of a dangerous situation. She is surrounded by gang members who want to kill her and she not only talks them out of it but also gets them to give up one of their crew (for a bail bond retrieval) by the offer of a lap dance. Her terrible line read of “You know you want it…” is so bad I cannot help but roll my eyes every time I see it in the movie and in the trailers. It is a reflex action at this point at seeing the perfect culmination of bad writing and lousy acting.
But I keep swerving off topic. But Moses (you say again), this movie isn’t some biography but some dumb action movie. How does it do in that regard? Well, that part of the movie is written by Richard Kelly (Southland Tales). How do you think it does? I just don’t care about this heist. It is not like it is some brilliantly constructed heist like Ocean’s Eleven. Domino’s boss tries to perpetrate some insurance scam to save his granddaughter but things get screwed up and the mob and the FBI get involved. Domino and her friends must get back the money and give it back to the mob. It seems rather straightforward but the movie takes forever to get to this main conflict and the focus continues to meander when we do get there.
I really think this movie tries to get by, not on some complex story, but on the “lovable” characters, and I hate them all. Everyone is selfish, greedy, egotistical, annoying, and immoral (with the exception of maaaaaybe Mickey Rourke’s character). The rest of the movie is padded out with bigoted and racist stereotypes. I’m looking at you Mo’Nique .
As if the characters weren’t migraine inducing on their own, we finally move onto the direction of the movie. Scott keeps the frantic editing he learned in Man on Fire and turns it up to 11 in Domino. And when I say “frantic”, I mean Michael Bay on a binge of Red Bull and speed. To say this movie was made for people with ADD is another gross understatement. This is the cause of all my headaches.
But Moses (you say again), the movie has Mickey Rourke/Christopher Walken/Tom Waits/Keira Knightly’s tits, surely the movie is worth watching for that. This is where I will give the movie some credit. Mickey Rourke is good (as usual), Christopher Walken is hilarious for the three minutes he is on screen, Tom Waits is the man in the two minutes he is on screen. And for those looking to see Keira naked, you can only see it if you pause your DVD in just the right frame and if the moon is in the right position in the sky (the editing almost makes it impossible to see). Sadly, the movie is too annoying to be saved by any of those things.
This movie is a pain to watch: the characters are annoying, the acting (for the most part) sucks, the story is uninvolving and ludicrous, and the direction will give you a monster headache. I don’t care about Domino Harvey’s life, and with what’s presented in this movie, you shouldn’t either.