DominoStarring Keira Knightley, Mena Suvari. Directed by Tony Scott.
Running Time: 122 mins.
Rated: Rated 15+ (Strong violence, Strong sexual references, Strong coarse language).
This is a very flashy film with more than a touch of what used to be called 'psychedelic style'. It was filmed on 35mm film with High Digital cameras. This has enabled director, Tony Scott, to draw on his long history of making commercials to employ an enormous range of colour effects, sweeps, palettes that characterise MTV-influenced movie-making. That means it will be visually exhilarating or distracting and exhausting depending on taste.
The screenplay is flashy as well. It's something of a moving mosaic, as complicated and sometimes as unfathomable as a jigsaw puzzle. It was written by Richard Kelly who achieved some notoriety with Donnie Darko which he both wrote and directed. That was a tantalising drama combining reality, fantasy, off-kilter imagination. Domino is definitely off-kilter.
Tony Scott is entitled to bring the story of Domino Harvey to the screen. He had known her since she was twenty and had been in discussions with her about a film on her life and her adventures. He sees himself as being a father-figure to her for a decade or more. He had also known her associates and been fascinated by them.
At the beginning and end of the film, Domino Harvey announces that she is a bounty hunter. With her comfortable and socialite family background, her educated accent and her being the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey (seen in this film in clips from The Manchurian Candidate), she is an unlikely bet for taking up the career of a bounty hunter. However, she was a rebel, ready to take risks, exhilarated by adrenalin pumping as she pursued and caught criminal, attracted to what might be called the 'low life'. In 2005, Domino Harvey took her own life.
The film-makers announce that this film is based on a true story and just as we are taking that in after seeing a swift paced, brutal attack on would-be thieves, they add, tongue-in-cheekily, 'sort of'. The film goes backwards and forwards with Domino's life, gets us lost in who are the villains and who are not (even resurrecting characters we have seen being executed), so that by the gun-battle climax at the top of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas, it is difficult to tell who is gunning whom down!
This is a 'post-modern' blend of the comic, the intensely individual, the brutal (reminding us that Tony Scott directed the Tarantino script, True Romance). Keira Knightly, still on a startlingly rapid rise to stardom, is Domino, Mickey Rourke does a variation on his usual as her boss. Venezuelan Edgar Ramirez is Choco, the third member of the team. Domino is a whirl of a film.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the World Association for Catholic Communications and an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.