Domino (2005)

Action, Biography, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Édgar Ramírez, Delroy Lindo
A recounting of Domino Harvey's life story. The daughter of actor Laurence Harvey turned away from her career as a Ford model to become a bounty hunter.
  • 14 Oct 2005 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Richard Kelly, Richard Kelly Writer:
  • Tony Scott Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:


A little editing would've been nice.5/10
My reaction to Domino is about as mixed as the mixed race flowchart that Mo'Nique presents on The Jerry Springer Show during the movie (I know, that doesn't make much sense unless you've seen the movie). I dare you to not laugh once she starts introducing terms such as Blacktino, Chinegro, and Japanic. I suppose if you suck at the teat of political correctness then you might not get the joke, but otherwise it's one of the funnier scenes in the movie (the running 90210 joke being the funniest). At this point you're probably wondering what in the world Mo'Nique, Jerry Springer, mixed flow charts, and 90210 have to do with a movie about bounty hunters. It's a legit question. All I can say is welcome to the unconventionalism that is Domino.

I didn't mind the fact that this isn't very conventional, but at times it does feel a little convoluted. By the end of the movie I was pretty clear regarding what was going on, unlike the 'tard in front of me who couldn't decipher the concept of flashbacks, but the script does feel unnecessarily complex. Yeah, the movie kept my interest and is fairly entertaining, but it was just begging for tighter editing. Trimming about 20 minutes would've made the story stronger and the narrative more fluent. My guess is that Scott was experimenting and just couldn't bear to get rid of anything (Tom Waits' cameo especially felt unnecessary).

Tony Scott's made a movie that appears to be something he and his friends could most enjoy while under the influence of substances of a dubious nature. I can deal with the frantic pacing, the quick camera cuts, and the strange coloring, but is it really necessary to show characters saying the same line multiple times from different angles? Sometimes it's all just a little too weird for the sake of being weird.

One of my biggest complaints is that we mainly know that Domino is a bounty hunter because she tells us about 24 times in her narration, which starts to grate on the nerves after a while. I would've preferred to see a little more focus on, you know, her actual bounty hunting. SHOW us why she was a really good bounty hunter; don't just tell us over and over. I was expecting some really cool scenes with Mickey Rourke and Keira hunting down their bounty, showcasing the technical side of the hunt, and wrapping it all up with cool, tough-guy (and girl) bounty hunter stuff. Maybe a little sniping here, a vicious beat down there. Sadly, it never came.

Do I remind everybody that I'm a reviewer by pointing out in every single review that, "I'm Johnny Betts. I'm a movie reviewer"? No, I do my job and show you what it is that makes me a movie reviewer!

"By writing crappy reviews, Johnny?"

Uh, well, I guess we all get mixed reactions sometimes.
Tony Scott's Postmodern Masterpiece8/10
" Domino " has been widely condemned on this site for its frenetic editing style and " sickening " photography. It's detractors cite its superficiality and criticize its deployment of " style over substance" I couldn't disagree more. I believe that " Domino " represents the absolute height of Tony Scott's film-making career.

After having created the dominant Hollywood action movie style throughout the late eighties and early nineties Tony Scott has moved progressively closer to a more subjective style of cinema. As early as "Crimson Tide" Scott used his stylistic talent to portray the inner worlds of his characters- the claustrophobia and drama inherent in the conflict on board a nuclear submarine was embodied in the excellent use of long lenses combined with dutched-angle framing. This was then carried through to " Enemy Of The State" and "Spy Game" which visually represented the worlds of surveillance and espionage respectively.

" Man On Fire" was an extreme departure , a move into an expressionist more painterly aesthetic. Here Scott used an antiquated hand cranked camera and flash frames to express his character's explosive rage . Although not entirely successful it introduced the techniques which were to find their full expression in " Domino"

Couched in the framing device of an FBI interrogation " Domino" presents the life of the infamous bounty hunter via her narrated disjointed fragments of memory. She grasps at memories as we all do- in fragments, flashes and brief snatches. As Domino relays her story verbally Scott relays it visually illustrating not only the events which she describes but also the point of view which guides them. She does have " traces of mescaline" in her system but her individual vision is anyway Unusual -that of an woman who eschewed the life of luxury for bounty hunting.

It is when Domino begins to relate the events which lead to her captivity that Scott really lets rip. Together with Cinematographer Dan Mindel and composer Harry-Gregson Williams Scott orchestrates a postmodern canvas of contemporary Americana. Gradually we begin to realize that unusual though she may be Domino is no more disjointed than the "90210" culture she has rejected. As she wades through this cultural melange Scott makes his viewer more aware of the innocence which it destroys through the underprivileged children which the narrative introduces. Ultimately Scott portrays their salvation as the only escape we have from this surreal trip.

To criticize this movie for being overly stylized is akin to criticizing a Picasso or a Pollock for not representing that which is recognizably human. Like any great painting the meaning in " Domino" is in the surface and the surface is everything.

I am not in any way associated with Scott Free but have always been and will continue to be a huge admirer of Tony Scott's work
Still a turd no matter how hard you polish it2/10
Tony Scott destroys anything that may have been interesting in Richard Kelly's cliched, patchy, overwrought screenplay. Domino Harvey (Kiera Knightley) was a model who dropped out and became a bounty hunter. This is her story... "sort of".

The problem with this rubbish is that there isn't much of a story at all and Scott's extreme graphic stylization of every shot acts as a distancing mechanism that makes us indifferent to everything in Harvey's chaotic life.

You just don't care about Harvey. Knightley plays her as an obnoxious, cynical brat who has done nothing to warrant our respect. She punches people she doesn't like and sheds her clothes and inhibitions when the situation calls for it, but she isn't the least bit real and Knightly isn't the least bit convincing, either.

The film is boring. It's loud, too, and shackled with one of the most annoying source music scores I've heard in a long time. The final twenty minutes are a poor re-run of Scott's "True Romance" climax with Domino's gang going to meet two sets of feuding bad guys who are -- surprise! surprise! -- destined to shoot it out with each other at the top of a Las Vegas casino.

Unfortunately, this potentially exciting conflagration is totally botched by Scott and becomes a confusing, pretentious, pointless exercise in celluloid masturbation. This is not an artistically brave or experimental piece; it is a failure on every level because it gives us no entry point to the lives and dilemmas of its characters.

Mickey Roarke looks good as a grizzled bounty hunter, but he disappears into the background as the "narrative" progresses. Chris Walken turns in another embarrassing cameo and Dabney Coleman, always solid, is underutilized.

Don't be fooled by this film's multi-layered, gimmick-ridden surface. It is still a turd no matter how hard you polish it.
You'll love it or hate it – it's a stylistic thing7/10
My name is Domino Harvery. {EDIT *dizzying* CHOP} My--my--my name is Domino Harvey. {CUT, CHOP} My name is Domino Harvey. {EDIT. CUT. Playback}

Never have I seen a director take so much flack for his style before. By now it is evident that most people do not appreciate Tony Scott's choppy, flashy, dizzying editing technique. If I have to choose between loving it and hating it, I'd say I love it. It was borderline distracting at times, but the end result was pretty good and it's nice to see a director with a creative edge to his style and some originality (even if it borrows heavily from MTV videos).

This stylistic edge manifests itself as Keira Knightley plays the role of cocky badass bounty hunter Domino Harvey and even her dialogue seems strangely choppy. Otherwise she plays her poorly because I pretty much hated her character and did not sympathize one bit with her, no matter how much she suffered. We follow Domino through her life as she joins up with fellow bounty hunters Mickey Rourke, Rizwan Abbasi and Edgar Ramirez. The crew become tangled up in the FBI and suddenly has a reality show contract under Christopher Walken's TV production company (what is Christopher Walken doing in every film, by the way?). I guess that is a clever film technique, because now Tony Scott is free to use as much flashy MTV/Reality Show editing footage as he likes. It becomes a pastiche of MTV culture at this point.

It followes then that the story is told at an amazingly rapid-fire pace, with lots of raunchy strong language and gun violence. There are some funny jokes; it's all very modern and surreal at the same time. It's a mess, but it's a rather enjoyable mess. It is ultimately flawed in so many ways (the actors try too hard to make their characters "cool", for one) but it works. I give it a weak 7/10 which may seem generous when compared to the general consensus of movie-goers who graded this film — but I feel it had some good ideas and executed them well.

7 out of 10
An enjoyable mess6/10
I liked 'Domino' even though the movie felt like a total mess. Describing the plot would be as much help to you as saying there was a beginning and an end, so I might as well just do that. I could tell you that Domino Harvey (Keire Knightley), once a model, has turned into a bounty hunter under the leadership of Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke). Also part of their team is Choco (Edgar Ramirez), who looks like a Latino version of Val Kilmer. The movie also involves mafia, stolen money, a man with an arm detached from his body, Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green from 'Beverly Hills 90210' as themselves, sisters named Lashandra and Lashindra, and a Jerry Springer-sequence that could have been a comedy short on its own.

I liked all of it for multiple reasons, its energy being one of them. The movie feels like one long music video, even more than films like 'Trainspotting', 'Go' and 'The Rules of Attraction' (funny how they all deal with drugs in one way or another), but it never becomes exhausting. It is one of those films where style over substance succeeds, maybe not in great way, but simply in a way. I also liked it for the actors. Keira Knightley is convincing as a tough girl, even more admirable after just seeing her as a naughty but delicate girl in 'Pride & Prejudice'. Mickey Rourke is back with extraordinary performance in films such as 'Spun', 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico', 'Sin City', and now 'Domino'. Not only them, but also Ramirez, Delroy Lindo, Tom Waits and especially Christopher Walken (as the producer of a reality show the team is doing) give the movie something extra to enjoy. It is exactly what this movie is, enjoyable.