[box cover]

Domino: Platinum Series

Tony Scott's Domino (2005) opens with a title card that gives its filmmakers a peculiar brand of carte blanche: "This is based on a true story… sort of." Take out the "true," and you're actually a little closer to describing Domino's biggest problem. Scott's over-edited, overlong Big Lie biopic tells a story… sort of — that is, until you try to pluck the actual fundamentals of storytelling (character, dialogue, plot, logic) out of Scott's bottomless bag of editing tricks, macho posturing, sound-bite dialogue, and fever-dream histrionics. At which point you realize there's nothing there. Domino is a total fraud. Of course, if you were to press Mr. Scott on the matter, he'd probably tell you this is intentional. The movie (from a screenplay by Donnie Darko's Richard Kelly) is essentially a big, convoluted lie spewing from the mouth of bounty hunter Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley) as she's interrogated by an FBI agent (Lucy Liu) in a room lit that shade of over-saturated green that got old about halfway through the first Matrix sequel. Ms. Harvey is coming off a mescaline trip as she tries to talk her way out of a very nasty mess — the bloody aftermath of a botched saga of double-crosses involving two veteran bounty hunters (Mickey Rourke and Edgar Ramirez), a corrupt bailbondsman (Delroy Lindo), a reality-TV producer (Christopher Walken), a casino owner (Dabney Coleman), armed robbers dressed as the First Ladies, and, what the hell, the Mafia, one-armed trailer trash, Tom Waits, Jerry Springer, and "celebrity hostages" from the cast of "Beverly Hills 90210." Domino Harvey was a real-life bounty hunter — a former model and the daughter of Manchurian Candidate actor Laurence Harvey. She died of a drug overdose in June 2005. And it's obvious that Scott and Kelly are inserting her into this tall tale in name only — because a story this ridiculously false can only be intended as some sort of deeply textured exploration of the nature of "truth," or something. But unfortunately, all this film has is "texture." Scott has edited Domino like an endless opening-credits sequence; a 10-second flashback of Domino flushing her goldfish down the toilet has about eight cuts, a couple of herky-jerky camera swipes and double exposures, and an overexposed-film flare-up, all set to a hip-hop soundtrack. (This is only a slight exaggeration. At one point the characters are tripping on mescaline, and there is almost no change in the film's look and editing — it's that relentless.) In small doses, this looks kind of neat; over two hours, it's excruciating. And, even worse, it buries anything resembling a conversation, a performance, logic, or normal human psychology. We never get to know the real Domino Harvey in this film — but even worse, we never get to know the fictional one. Sort of. New Line's "Platinum Series" DVD release of Domino offers a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with DTS-ES 6.1, Dolby Digital EX 5.1, and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Supplements include a commentary track with director Tony Scott and scenarist Richard Kelly, an "alternate audio track" featuring script notes and story development meetings, seven deleted scenes with optional commentary by Tony Scott and a "play all" option, the featurette "I Am a Bounty Hunter" with an alternate audio track featuring Richard Kelly interviewing Domino Harvey (20 min.), the featurette "Bounty Hunting on Acid: Tony Scott's Visual Style" (10 min.), a teaser and theatrical trailer, and additional online and DVD-ROM content. Keep-case.
Mike Russell

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