During a three day heat wave just before a huge 4th of July celebration, an action star stricken with amnesia meets up with a porn star who is developing her own reality TV project, and a policeman who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.
Sarah Michelle Gellar,
Seann William Scott
The story of a married silkworm merchant-turned-smuggler in 19th century France traveling to Japan for his town's supply of silkworms after a disease wipes out their African supply. During his stay in Japan, he becomes obsessed with the concubine of a local baron.
The daughter of an actor father and a social-climber mother, Domino Harvey, bored with her life, decides to join the team of Ed Moseby and becomes a bounty hunter. But she gets in trouble when the Mafia's money is stolen from an armored truck, while Moseby and his crew are participating in a reality show produced by Mark Heiss. The situation gets out of control when the sons of a rival mobster are kidnapped while the FBI is monitoring two gangs of mobsters. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Domino opens up with the title character being interrogated, and through the voice-over narration she informs us, "This is the part where I tell them to go to hell that I'm not talking until my lawyer arrives." And two seconds later she tells the interrogating officer, "I'll tell you everything." This sets the tone and rhythm for the rest of the movie, and lets us know the narrative isn't afraid to contradict itself. Soon we jump to the setup of the film's ending, then we jump back to the beginning of Domino's story, and then we jump to an important plot point that won't come into play until twenty minutes later. Literalists and traditionalists, please stop watching the film immediately. So in the spirit of the film, I'll come back to this point in a little bit and probably say something completely different. If you're with me, you'll understand. If not, get lost.
Regarding the style: I never thought I'd see the day when I'd like a movie with a music video meets reality TV vibe. I've hated no, scratch that I've loathed films that would merely flirt with the idea. I've stopped caring entirely about plot/characters and any redeeming values because the style has driven me up a wall in those other films. Here, though, Tony Scott doesn't think twice about embracing it, and at first it didn't sit well with me as I remembered all the failures that came before Domino. But then something happened . . .
Mel Brooks, in describing his overboard ideas of comedy, once said, "What's the point of going all the way to the bell without ringing it? Let's ring the damn bell." Maybe my problem with this MTV/Reality-series style of film-making has been the fact that every other filmmaker was content to go part way to just flirt with the idea but here at last Tony Scott rings the bell.
And holy crap! When I started to listen it actually sounds good! Real freakin' good.
Perhaps another reason why it works in this film is because Tony Scott understands the potency behind each of a film's individual elements. And he's not content to let the music, editing, on screen performance, Kiera Knightley's voice-over, and on-screen text tell their small part of the story and work together as a whole; Domino uses each of its given elements to simultaneously tell their own version of the tale from beginning to end in its entirety. It's a full-on frontal assault of the senses and gives the viewer the feeling five people are telling their own interpretation of the exact same story at the exact same time talking over one another, contradicting one another, interrupting each other, going back and correcting themselves.
You've heard of Howard Hawk's overlapping dialogue? Tony Scott gives you overlapping cinematic narrative elements. The genius and the magic is that Tony Scott masterfully maintains comprehensible order through all this narrative chaos, and somehow Tony Scott makes it all work.
Also, the film's stylization has another point behind it serves as a reflection (dare I say an alternate, yet effective, means of character development?) for Domino Harvey, her attitude, and the world she lives in. This movie is not content simply telling us about the world, it's a part of that world too, and for two hours it wants to bring us there. Or to draw an analogy you can listen to a book being read in a flat monotone or you can listen to it being read with different voices for each character, and the narrator gets up and acts out the story too. Domino goes that extra distance.
The plot? I'd be wasting my time if I tried. Domino Harvey is a former model turned bounty hunter. And the movie, itself, is an action-adventure thriller. You don't need to know anything more. The point of Domino isn't on the contents of the plot, the point of Domino resides in the style in which that plot is told (and it is told very effectively). Or in other words, a summarization is nearly pointless. If you need to "get" the plot, you're not going to "get" Domino at all.
Domino is a style, an attitude, a perspective. It's a film willing to tell its audience to either come along for the ride or get lost. Based on a true story? Kiera's voice over says it, "If you want to know what *really* happened . . . get lost!" (note: stated with significantly harsher language that IMDb doesn't want to accept in a review, but you get the idea.)
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