The Barenaked Archives: Domino

It’s very rare that a movie practically hands me the words to describe it on a silver platter. About halfway through Domino, Mena Suvari’s character, a meek secretary for Christopher Walken’s TV producer, tells the bounty hunters to talk to her boss quickly because he has the attention span of a “ferret on crystal meth.”
Domino
This ferret and his drug addiction were apparently responsible for the movie’s cinematography: shaky cameras, quick edits, funky lighting, and close-ups so extreme you could count the pores on a person’s face. You can sit there till you’re blue in the face and say it’s a stylistic choice, meant to make the movie grittier and more realistic. I say it’s distracting and gives me a headache.

In fact, the cinematography so got on my nerves that it nearly made me miss the movie. Not that Domino was really anything to write home about in the first place.

Proclaiming to be “based on a true story (sort of),” Domino gives us an account of Domino Harvey, the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey and a model who became a bounty hunter. It’s told in flashback, as Domino (Keira Knightley) is interrogated by an FBI agent (Lucy Liu) hoping to find the whereabouts of $10 million that Domino’s team was responsible for recovering.

It’s obvious from the trailers and the extra media the studio has released (the lap dance shots, anyone?) that Keira Knightley is their biggest draw. She’s sexy, she’s a bounty hunter, and she’s what’s most appealing to the college guys they’re hoping to get in to the theaters this weekend.

Knightley does a serviceable job (nothing really outstanding), but they focus much more on the sex appeal than the bounty-hunting part of the job. That’s the only way to explain the mescaline-induced sex scene about three-quarters of the way through the movie that apparently serves no purpose other than to showcase Keira Knightley’s boobs.

Her voiceover is also hit-and-miss. Voiceovers are a dicey trick anyway, because some people always love them while others will always hate them. Occasionally Domino gets some good points in on the voiceover, but more often than not they take one phrase (most memorable: “Heads you live, tails you die. Fifty-fifty chance.”) and repeat it roughly eight million times, which becomes very annoying and the phrase loses its punch.

The other major draws (whether the studio knows it or not) are Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken. Rourke has been doing pretty well since his scene-stealing turn as Marv in this spring’s Sin City, and here he gets to play another badass: bounty hunter Ed Moseley, Domino’s mentor (of sorts). Ed’s not what you’d call a very moral guy, but he’s good at what he does.

As I’ve said before, Christopher Walken’s name on a poster will get most guys I know to go see a movie, no matter the subject. He’s the “ferret on crystal meth,” a reality TV producer who wants a camera crew to follow Domino, Ed, and their other teammate Choco around as they bust the bad guys. Of course, he’s concerned more with ratings than with anything else. Sadly, he’s not in the movie much.

The movie just wound up being disappointing. You walk in expecting a possibly cool story about a team of bounty hunters taking down fugitives in California, and walk out having seen a team of bounty hunters spend most of their time chasing around $10 million, as told in flashback by the one who got captured. It may be worth checking out on DVD, but unless you are really dying to see Keira Knightley’s boobs, you can probably skip it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s