"It just sucks"










The Masked Reviewer

The last two letters of the title of this film represent the best answer to the question "is this worth seeing?"

Directed by director Tony Scott, Domino is definitely stylish.  You may remember some of Tony Scott's other works, including: Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, The Fan, Enemy of the State, Spy Game, and Man on Fire.  He's been evolving his directorial style over his last few films.  Domino is most similar in look to Man on Fire; very deep, contrasty, grainy cinematography combined with rapid cuts and endless camera jittering.  The Masked Reviewer believes he was heavily influence by Traffic and MTV. 

Man on Fire was somewhat interesting, but visually Domino's style is overpowering to the point of being annoying.  It's style without substance, too.  And it's someone else's style.  Repeated cuts, flashes, strobes, blurs, pulls, re-cuts, shakey-cam, out of focus, and random sub-titles are used every single moment of the film. 

Combined with some really awful music choices, Domino feels like an ultra-cheezy FOX TV show...like a cheap knock-off of "24". 

Kiera Knightly (also known as Keira Knightley) is the star -- you may remember her from Pirates of the Caribbean.  She plays Domino Harvey (no relation to Lee Harvey Oswald), a model-turned-bounty hunter.  She teams up with Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez (who?), and more supporting characters than you can shake a stick at.

At this point in the review, the Masked Reviewer will depart from the "no spoiler" policy and tell you a lot about the film.  But first, you should know that there is nothing to spoil, because it's already rotten.  You should also know that you shouldn't go see this film, and if you read the rest of this review, you'll get a better idea of why.  Some people will undoubtedly like the movie, but they will be giving it credit for things that aren't there.  It's a movie that will fool people into thinking it's enjoyable, but it's not.  If you see it and really like it and can explain what's good about it, feel free to write to the Masked Reviewer and he will post a "counter-point" argument for why someone thinks it doesn't suck.  Keep in mind, the acting is fine: there aren't any bad performances, and, in fact, some people (Mickey Rourke for example) do a fine job.  But, there's no character, a convoluted, random plot, and it seems to try and use familiar moments from other films to give a sense that something cool is happening, but nothing cool happens.  So, if you decide to see it, stop reading now, but remember...you've been warned.  And now, some spoilers.  If you're wise, you'll read on, save yourself ten bucks, and thank the Masked Reviewer for saving you time that could be better spent doing anything else.

The Spoilers Begin:

The biggest spoiler is that this movie blows.  But you probably already knew that.  The first hint: the opening credits tell us that the costumes are by "B."  That's the costume designer's name.  Remember McG, the director?  That wasn't trendy, hip, and pretentious enough, so Tony Scott hired a costume designer with just one letter.  Next it will just be a blank space.  If the Masked Reviewer had worked on this film, he'd have wanted a blank space instead of his name, too. 

The intro for the film is like a bad TV show (instead of a bad movie, which it is ). 

The cornball crappy music kicks in a lot.  At times, you might think that the whole movie is a parody of something, but it isn't.  It's just walking that fine line of being so bad you laugh at times, but then realize it's not supposed to be funny.  Sometimes movies are so bad that you can laugh at them and enjoy them...not Domino.  It just sucks.

The addition of the music is supposed to "amp things up" at times, but it's just...it's just awful. 

You want an all-star cast?  In addition to Mickey Rourke and Keira Knightley (also known as Kiera Knightly), you've got Lucy Liu as an FBI interrogator, Christopher Walken as a skeevy TV producer, Mena Suvari in a throwaway role, Jacquelin Bisset as Domino's mom, Dabney Coleman, Mo'Nique, Macy Gray, and Delroy Lindo.  Cameos by "Beverly Hills 90210" stars Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green as themselves are...lame and dated.  A cameo by Jerry Springer as himself is about what you'd expect.  An appearance by Tom Waits in the desert as some kind of prophet dude is just plain confusing.

The film features moments ripped from other films that were far more interesting.  A robbery with people wearing halloween masks.  A supermodel cat-fight.  A casino heist.  A body part being forcibly removed.  A bad drug trip.  A spectacular car crash.  A terrorist with a bomb.  A young child that needs a $300,000 operation.  Sexual tension between two women in a criminal interrogation.  An elevator car plummeting down a shaft.  Not one, not two, but three tense gunpoint standoffs.  The mob.  A lap dance. 

Keira Knightley's character is sexually pursued by another bounty hunter, but she shows no interest in him.  Then, later in the film, after their mobile home flips forty times (because they've been drugged by the mother of the guy who's arm they cut off to get the combination for the lock on her freezer where ten million dollars (from the casino heist)  is hidden), she decides to have sex with him in the desert, with the guys from "90210" standing around, before Tom Waits shows up.

Huh?  Wha?  The Masked Reviewer would say that you'd have to see it to understand, but, in fact, it makes no sense, and isn't worth caring about.

There are jokes in the film, but they all fall flat.  Tony Scott included a scene where comedienne Mo'Nique appears on "The Jerry Springer Show" and does a comedy routine.  It doesn't fit with anything else, it's not funny, and it's just plain confusing. 

It's long, too.  So long.  The Masked Reviewer understood from press materials that the film would be 84 minutes long.  It seemed to last four hours.  In reality, it was about 2 hours long.  If it had been, oh, one hour and fifty minutes shorter, it would have still sucked, but at least it wouldn't have seemed to crawl along forever.  Which, given the frenetic cuts and pacing, is quite impressive.  Remember Once Upon a Time in Mexico?  Domino makes that look like Shakespeare.

What else?  Things make no sense.  Here's an example.  Domino decides to become a bounty hunter.  She sees an ad for a seminar, so she shows up, gives them $99, and sits in on the class.  It's being presented by Delroy Lindo and Mickey Rourke, who are "the best bailbondsman and bounty hunter in LA".  So, after a brief intro, they decide to take the money for the seminar and run...see, they're kind of con-artists in addition to being bounty-hunters.  So, they have one guy sneak out the window with the cash, while the others get the car ready. 

Now, why would they do that?  They used their real names.  They got the money.  They started the seminar and showed up.  Why leave early?  If you're going to scam people, why use your real names?  And why sneak out the window?  Why not all go out the door?

A lot doesn't make sense, but it's so stupid that it's hardly worth thinking about. 

They also make a point of saying in the intro "Based on a true story.  Sort of."

What is true?  That there was someone named Domino, somewhere, once?  There's so much that clearly never happened -- including a bomb blowing up in the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas after a chopper crashes on the strip -- that it all seems like a big fairy tale.  Apparently, the "real" Domino was named bounty-hunter of the year, though even that seems suspect.  Was there a reality show about her?  Was she involved in a big heist?  The trouble is, WHO CARES?  Not the Masked Reviewer, that's for sure.

The only thing that saves this film from the worst possible review is that Keira Knightley shows her breasts, though only extremely briefly.  That, and the acting was good.  It must be very frustrating to be in this film...the individual actors all did fine jobs.  There isn't a bad performance (with the possible exception of the "90210" stars).  But it's so much nothing, it's so frenetic and pointless and nonsensical that you'll wish you could destroy your memory of this movie.

Domino's character sums it up well, about six and a half hours into the film (at least, that's what it felt like): "I knew in my heart of hearts that we should've stopped when my goldfish died."  See, she had a goldfish that died, in the last few hours of the movie.  But, she also had a goldfish that died in the first half hour of the film.  They should've stopped when that goldfished died.  But nooOOOO.  They just kept going and going and going.

Save yourself the agony.  The nudity isn't worth it, by any stretch of the imagination.  It's all blurry and overexposed, anyway.


Expectation from the Title: The story of a pizza mogul's rise to power.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Oh dear.  It was...well...the cast members all looked like they were healthy, and having your health is the most important thing.

The Pros: The acting is surprisingly fine throughout.  There is a tiny, brief, blurry flash of Keira's Knightleys and some brief other nudity.

The Cons: Stylishly craptastic.  Pointless, long, frenetic, confused, unfunny, uninteresting, and a horrible waste of a lot of actors who put forth good performances.  Nothing good about it.


Copyright 2003, Michael D. Lynn