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Domino: worst movie evar?


Staff member
‘Domino’ is a Tony Scott misfire
Gimmick-loaded film makes you wonder if Scott is making a parody

By Christy Lemire (AP)

Updated: 5:53 p.m. ET Oct. 10, 2005
During a rare moment of quiet and calm in “Domino,†a hyperactive reality-TV producer played by Christopher Walken is described as having “the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth.â€

Unfortunately, that’s also true of director Tony Scott’s movie.

In telling the story of Domino Harvey, who rejected her posh British upbringing and brief stint in modeling for life as a bounty hunter, Scott has created an audiovisual assault. Be sure to bring earplugs — and maybe a blindfold.

Scott trots out every imaginable music video gimmick — a mix of swish pans and snap zooms, of grainy slow-motion and sped-up footage, of various film stocks and filters. Other annoying tactics include throwing words up on the screen as people say them (which he also favored in the slightly less obnoxious “Man on Fireâ€) and having characters repeat themselves for no apparent reason.
“My name is Domino Harvey (My name is Domino Harvey),†Keira Knightley intones in defiant voiceover at the film’s start, the second time through tinny distortion. “I am a bounty hunter (I am a bounty hunter).â€

Which brings us to the sound effects — mostly nonstop automatic gunfire, shattered glass and shrilly screamed obscenities, though it’s even loud when a character smokes a cigarette, as if all the Zippos were miked. And that’s long before the top of the Las Vegas Stratosphere explodes in a sky-high ball of flames and fluttering cash. (It’s in the commercials, people, we’re not giving away the ending.)

Scott makes Darren Aronofsky and Paul Thomas Anderson look like Merchant and Ivory. He makes you wonder, is he serious? Or is this supposed to be a parody of an overblown action flick?

The worst part is: He should have known better.
The director knew Domino well — he describes the daughter of Laurence Harvey, star of the original “Manchurian Candidate,†as a “surrogate daughter†of his own and says he consistently warned her to be careful, up until her June death from an accidental overdose at 35. He should have known that her story was intriguing enough without smothering it in technological trickery.

And in Knightley, he should have known that he had an actress who’s compelling enough to carry a big action movie with an eclectic ensemble cast. It’s not such a different role for the beautiful young star of “Bend it Like Beckham†and the “Pirates of the Caribbean†movies — Knightley wielded a mean bow and arrow in “King Arthur.†She can hold her own with the shotgun-toting big boys with a combination of wit, vulnerability and sex appeal.
What you’ll remember most from “Domino,†though, is the dried blood — crusting beneath her nose and above her upper lip, a facial area to which Scott devotes several extreme close-ups as Domino chain-smokes while being interrogated by an FBI psychologist (Lucy Liu).

In this fictionalized snippet of her life, written by Richard Kelly (“Donnie Darkoâ€) and Steve Barancik, Domino and her fellow bounty hunters Ed (Mickey Rourke, perfect for the part) and Choco (Edgar Ramirez) go after the suspects who’ve stolen millions from the Stratosphere.

They’ve gotten the assignment from their employer, bail bondsman Claremont Williams III (Delroy Lindo), whose girlfriend, Lateesha (comedian Mo’Nique), works for the California Department of Motor Vehicles and makes fake IDs on the side, the recipients of which may be the same people as our suspects.

Even before this important case, Domino and her crew had already gained enough fame to merit the attention of TV producer Mark Heiss, who makes them the subject of a series called “The Bounty Squad,†hosted by Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering as themselves. (Probably the best scene in the whole movie comes when Domino punches Green in the nose, something viewers of “Beverly Hills, 90210†were probably tempted to do for years.)

This wildly unfocused story attempts to be about a great number of things besides Domino herself, including an indictment of reality TV (which has been done a million times) and an exploration of the seamy side of the entertainment industry (which has been done a million and one times). Then to jumble the proceedings further, “Domino†grinds to a halt to allow Mo’Nique to do a standup routine about race as a guest on “The Jerry Springer Show,†and Tom Waits shows up, possibly as a mescaline-induced hallucination, in the desert.

In making a movie about a woman who was fiercely aware that she needed a life of danger, Scott seems to have absolutely no idea what he wants.


TRIBE Member
Roger Ebert doesn't think so...

A character in Tony Scott's "Domino" is described as having "the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth," and that pretty much describes the movie. If I were to attempt a summary of the plot, this review would continue uninterrupted through the business section and end somewhere on the sports pages. Not many movies have two narrations, one written, one spoken, and not many require them But the damned thing has its qualities, and one of them is a headlong, twisting energy, a vitality that finds comedy in carnage. Here we have a man whose arm is shot off because it has a combination tattooed on it, and thieves disguised as four recent First Ladies.

The movie was inspired by Domino Harvey, a friend of Scott's, who was named Bounty Hunter of the Year in 2003 and died in July 2005, of an overdose, only 35 years old. Her life was not merely stranger than fiction but almost beyond invention: The daughter of the movie star Laurence Harvey and the fashion model Paulene Stone (renamed Sophie Wynn in the movie), she was sent, as they say, to all the best schools. She worked briefly as a Ford model before becoming a bounty hunter -- a professional paid to track down and deliver dangerous prey. "My agenda is to kick ass," she famously said, and she must have been good at it, to win that honor, although the awards ceremony is a paltry affair of folding chairs in a bare room.

The movie is inspired by her story but not based on it, and although famous people filled her life, the names are all changed here and just as well, because there are times when Scott and his writer, Richard Kelly, spin free of reality and enter a parallel universe of pulp fiction. Consider again that man whose arm is shot off and tossed around like a Frisbee. Surely it would be easier to simply look at his arm and note the combination in a PDA, instant messaging being so much more efficient than the transfer of body parts?

The plot exists at the intersection of crime and show business, which has long needed traffic signals. Domino (Keira Knightley, soon to win an Oscar nomination for "Pride and Prejudice," sees an ad for a bounty-hunting course run by a bail bondsman named Claremont Williams (Delroy Lindo) and his top hunters, Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke) and Choco (Edgar Ramirez). They just want to collect the tuition, but she insists on being taken seriously.

Mosbey might be expected to resist working with an unseasoned sexpot, but no: "Take a look at her," he tells Choco. "Come on, man, she ain't ugly. We walk down the street and people call us losers. We add her to the equation, and people are going to think we're two of the coolest mothers who have ever lived." Domino, as it turns out, is the coolest mother of all. In a situation where a bad guy seems inclined to start shooting, she distracts him with a lap dance. The things a sweet young British actress has to do when she moves from Jane Austen to Hollywood.

Oh, it gets stranger. Mosbey's team also includes Alf (Rizwan Abbasi), an Afghan who knows a lot about blowing things up, and whose existence on the streets of Los Angeles is a rebuke to the dream of Homeland Security. Choco is a tough guy form El Salvador who is offended that anyone would speak English in LA. Rourke, who with this film and "Sin City" has rehabilitated his iconic status, is so hardened at times he seems to be channeling Warren Oates.

The movie has so many supporting characters, it's a good thing it's edited at MTV velocity, or just introducing them would be feature-length. The funniest and most possibly true to life is Mark Heiss (Christopher Walken), a TV producer and ferret. He hires the bounty-hunting team for a reality TV show, and then mixes in the (real) stars Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green of "Beverly Hills 90210," setting up a scene where they introduce themselves to some killers: "We're the celebrity hostages." There's also Claremont's lover Lateesha (Mo'Nique), whose job at the Department of Motor Vehicles gives her access to a database of basically everybody. Her twin cousins, Lashandra (Macy Gray) and Lashindra (Shondrella Avery) exist in part, I suspect, so that they can be called Lashandra and Lashindra by Lateesha, although the movie gives them plenty else to do. Worth the price of admission is "The Jerry Springer Show" where Lateesha produces a chart to explain her theory of new American racial groups, including Blacktinos and Hispanese.

All of this happens outside of any reasonable chronology. The story leaps around in time and logic, subtitles explain who characters are and then later have to correct themselves, and Domino's own narration is intercut with her cross-examination by an FBI agent (Lucy Liu). Domino is not entirely certain what she can testify about, in part because she is evasive, in part because of that time in the desert when their coffee was spiked with mescaline and a prophet (Tom Waits) appeared, or seemed to appear, or something.

Did I admire "Domino"? In a sneaky way, yes. It's fractured and maddening, but it's alive. It begins with the materials of a perfectly conventional thriller. It heeds Godard's rule that "all you need for a movie is a girl and a gun." It gives us Keira Knightley in a role all the more astonishing because I've just seen her in "Pride and Prejudice." It not only stars Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken, but uses them instead of just gawking at them. It blows up a Las Vegas casino, and it's a real one, not a fictional one. And it contains the line "I'll never tell you what it all meant," as if anyone could. Seeking guidance in understanding the movie's manic narrative, I poked around online, and discovered in one review the explanation that the movie "totally challenges the bourgeois notion of the nuclear family." Oh.


TRIBE Member
I saw a screening of it last night. All the characters were utterly cliche. A lot of the shots/camera work were very choppy, reminiscent of a music video. I loved the music throughout

It did have some entertainment value, I was not bored and I didn't find the plot to be so twisted that I got lost.

It wasn't the worst movie ever. House of 1000 Corpses, that was the worst movie ever.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Persephone

It wasn't the worst movie ever. House of 1000 Corpses, that was the worst movie ever.
try battlefield earth or spaced invaders (I feel asleep in the theatre)



TRIBE Member
Scott trots out every imaginable music video gimmick a mix of swish pans and snap zooms, of grainy slow-motion and sped-up footage, of various film stocks and filters. Other annoying tactics include throwing words up on the screen as people say them (which he also favored in the slightly less obnoxious Man on Fire)
Holy fuck, if they're describing "Man on Fire" as "less obnoxious", I'm definitely going to give this movie a pass. That's exactly what pissed me off the most about Man on Fire. Great actors, good characters, somewhat decent plot, but the fucking camera tricks just made the movie unwatchable.


Staff member
Originally posted by kyfe
try battlefield earth or spaced invaders (I feel asleep in the theatre)

The Bone Snatcher was on TV last night , that sucked majorly


Well-Known TRIBEr
Originally posted by Aerius Zension
I'm waiting for the sequel, Dominoes. Shot in the neighbourhood of Kingston, Jamaica. It's like a Searing for Bobby Fisher story.

Prop prop! Yes guy!

This was a favourite in our high school cafeteria.

dr. claw

Originally posted by Dr Funk MD
I hate everything Tony Scott does
even True Romance?

years ago, the toronto star posted the best scenes in cinematic history, compiled by a bunch of film critics- the scene featuring dennis hopper and christopher walken in true romance was among them

tony scott has his moments in my opinion
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dr. claw

Originally posted by Flashy_McFlash
That scene was great because of the writing though, and the strength of the actors...not because of anything that Scott did.
The music playing in the background during that scene (from the opera Lakme) is a Tony Scott trademark and totally made it effective in my opinion. He did recycle the music from the Deneuve/Sarandon dyke-out scene in The Hunger, but whatever.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by kyfe
[Bspaced invaders
Kyfe [/B]

...Battlefield Earth was god awful.

I can't stand Tony Scott's latest efforts with all the herky-jerky movements. Spy Game was tolerable but I wasn't huge on how it was shot.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Rataxès
Keira is hot, but all the fast cut editing in that clip gave me an epileptic seizure.

holy crap-ola... i just about fell off my stability ball after watching that clip. my eyes hurt.