Silver Chips Online

"Domino" dazes and delights

Fun flick is sure to leave viewers perplexed

By Natasha Prados, Online Managing Editor
October 19, 2005
If people are wandering out of a movie theatre looking as if they have spent the past two hours on a roller coaster ride, chances are they saw "Domino." In fact, "Domino" is a fast-paced, intense, complex, thrill-packed action flick, which cannot be described as anything other than trippy.

A farcical tone is set at the very beginning of the movie when "Based on a true story. Sort of," flashes across screen. The film is a bizarre and sometimes ridiculous jumble of characters, gruesome violence, sex, money and plot twists. "Domino" also contains themes alluding to reality TV, the mafia, the conflict in Afghanistan and drugs.

Keira Knightley stars as Domino Harvey, a legendary model turned bounty hunter. Knightley, once again, proves her versatility as an actress, though she occasionally over-acts to the point of cheesiness.

"Domino" is partially devoted to telling Harvey's life story. The movie briefly summarizes Harvey's lonely childhood, in which her father died and her mother placed her in a boarding school. The film, however, mostly focuses on Harvey's career as a bounty hunter.

Nowadays, Harvey is part of a bounty hunting team comprised of Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke), Choco (Edgar Ramirez) and Alf (Rizwan Albessi). The actors all give incredible performances. Ed is Harvey's complicated, understated father figure and Choco is violent Latin man-boy who falls for Harvey immediately. Alf is the group's quiet, Afghani bus driver who is always prepared to blow up something.

The film is peppered with colorful characters that are excellently portrayed by the supporting cast. Lucy Liu plays a gritty criminal psychologist who interrogates Harvey in scenes that are interspersed throughout the picture. Mo'Nique appears as Lateesha Rodriguez, a hilarious "world's youngest mixed-race grandmother." Rodriguez's granddaughter, who's life the bounty hunters ends up struggling to save, is a minor character but becomes the core of the action.

Directed by Tony Scott, "Domino" manages to be glamorous and flashy but also redolent of independent film. Text is used both for introductory purposes and arbitrarily in an artistic style. Additionally, the plot erratically dips into various side stories, suddenly revealing certain events that did not really occur and revising the action in an avant-garde manner.

Instead of a semi-normal or even vaguely logical time line, Scott relies on minute, repetitive acts for continuity. Quarters are a big deal. Harvey is always flipping a quarter through her fingers and a shot of Harvey as a little girl tossing a quarter in a church is re-used throughout the film.

Although the film's cyclic quirks get somewhat corny and monotonous, they somehow work. The one aspect that doesn't quite fit is a recurring religious theme. The only reference to Harvey's religious preference is the one shot of her in a church, tossing her quarter, which gives the notion that she was sent to a religious boarding school. Yet, later in the film, religion is suddenly very important when the bounty hunters' bus flips over after they are all drugged and an odd man shows up in a convertible, calling Harvey the "angel of fire."

The end of the movie nearly ruins "Domino." Scott tries too hard to tie everything together and ends up annoying the audience by drawing the movie out. "Domino" is the kind of movie deserving of a sudden ending, but by the time the end rolls around, the audience is already used to laughing at senseless occurrences.

Though "Domino" borders on awkward, with all the crazy action and editing, the movie somehow works. "Domino" might be extreme and confusing, but it's also fun.

"Domino" (120 minutes) is rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content/nudity and drug use.