Review: [In Memory of Tony Scott 1944-2012] DOMINO (2005) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review: [In Memory of Tony Scott 1944-2012] DOMINO (2005)


Cinematic demolition derby overruled in this Tony Scott's latest movie as his so-called abstract biopic of the late Domino Harvey, the rebellious and troubled daughter of English actor Laurence Harvey, who made an extraordinary life for herself on the fringes of the crime-ridden Los Angeles as a bounty hunter for hire -- and a word of warning, though: Scott's DOMINO is nothing more than a bulky splash of visual annoyance and distracting stylistic flourishes to a very point that reminds me all over again why I despise his last movie, MAN ON FIRE (2004) so much.

Domino Harvey, who died recently on June 27 in West Hollywood at the young age of 35, the victim of a suspected drowning after a drug overdose. In this "sort of" based on the true story of her turbulent life, the frantic movie begins with the interrogation of the then 20-year-old Domino (Keira Knightley) being questioned by a FBI psychological investigator Taryn Miles (Lucy Liu).

From there, time rewinds back to her days as a child. After her father's death in 1993, her Beverly Hills, 90210-smitten mother, Sophie (Jacqueline Bisset) dragged her from England to L.A. where she is later grown up to a rebellious and bored teenager who loves to pick up fight rather than joining the typical fun of what most teenage girls do. Then she goes to college and even has a brief stint as a Ford model but it's all shortlived because of her erratic and uncontrollable behavior. Soon Domino attends a "bounty hunters wanted" seminar given by bail bondsman Claremont Williams III (Delroy Lindo) and the legendary bounty hunter Ed Moseby (Mickey Rourke). And she happens to be the only female to attend such male-dominated seminar to become bounty hunters. After a brief run-in where Domino discovered that Ed and his moody Venezuelan sidekick, Choco (Edgar Ramirez) are just doing this seminar to con those unsuspecting participants' money, she really wants the job as a bounty hunter and she mean it. Ed reluctantly agree to take her since they figure a fearless, never-say-die, good-looking hot chick with a posh British accent will do miracles for their hardcore image. From then on, they begin to get popular. Not long after Domino is voted "Bounty Hunter of the Year" and she has nevertheless become the driving force of the three's phenomenally successful bounty-hunter image.

Things just gets better when they're approached by reality-TV producer Mark Heiss (Christopher Walken), who wants to do a Cops-style show around Domino and the tough boys, but insists former 90210 boys Ian Zierling and Brian Austin Green (both playing themselves) for becoming the show's hosts. The bounty hunters' biggest gig came when Williams persuading them into tracking whoever ripped $10 million off an armored car. But little do they realized they're actually get themselves involved in a reckless and very dangerous scheme that starts with a Department of Motor Vehicles clerk, Lattesha (Mo'Nique) and ends tragically in a one big bloodbath that later caused Ed and Choco's life.

If you're interested to know more about Domino's fascinating life as a bounty hunter, you're looking for the wrong place. There's no doubt Steve Barancik and Richard Kelly's screenplay is terribly haphazard. At one point, they're trying to get quirky with the usual biopic genre by altering the time period and many of the details in Domino's life. It's also distinguished as a crime drama, then a heist thriller, a pistol-packing action movie, a pitch-black comedy in another and an attempted satire of the television industry. They're all over the place, imitating Quentin Tarantino's disjointed, non-chronological framework and even crosses the overbearing style of Oliver Stone's frantic NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) -- but the result is overcooked and undernourished.

Again, director Tony Scott has gone ecstasy. All he cares is to keep pushing his visual style off the limit: the film is chock-full of flash cutting, handheld cameras, hyperkinetic cinematography, TV commercial-style editing, manipulated color scheme, saturated colors, jump cuts, slow-motions, superimposed text, freeze-frames -- you name it all, he just loves to run a rave party gone wildly berserk. Too bad someone should knock him in the head that this heavy-handed visual can only be totally annoying; more of a showing off piece of work than a coherent entertainment. Because of Scott's out-of-control visual flairs, the result has definitely drown the rest of the credibility way down into the toilet bowl.

The dynamic performances by Keira Knightley (who is perfectly typecast as a tomboy-ish bounty hunter), Mickey Rourke and Edgar Ramirez are no doubt energetic and playful at the same time. It's pretty sad that their hipster-cool characters does little to redeem the film's weaknesses. The biggest problem is you can't feel for these character and more especially, Domino in which the filmmakers has kept our heroine so far off that all the emotion are left empty-headed.

Rather than a compelling experience, this one's an acid trip just wanted to make you scream in despair and anger before running out of the cinema with sheer agony.

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