Domino (2005) - New Line Platinum Series

Genre(s): Action / Biographical / Crime / Drama / Thriller
New Line || R - 128 minutes - $27.95 || February 21st, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-02-04

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Tony Scott
Writer(s): Richard Kelly (story) and Steve Barancik (story), Richard Kelly (screenplay)
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Delroy Lindo, Mena Suvari, Lucy Lui, Christopher Walken

Theatrical Release Date: October 13th, 2005

Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Writer Commentary
  • Script Notes, Story Development Recording
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes w/ Optional Commentary
  • "I Am a Bounty Hunter" Featurette
  • "Bounty Hunter on Acid: Evolution of a Visual Style" Featurette
  • Theatrical and Teaser Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1-EX), English (DTS-ES 6.1), English (Stereo Surround 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.


Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): Keira Knightley stars as Domino Harvey, L.A.'s most notorious bounty hunter who left a life of privilege in Beverly Hills for a life of danger.

When I first saw Domino in the theater, I felt that although it was in the same style as the underrated Man on Fire, it was lacking any emotional connection or impact with the characters. While Domino Harvey as a character is interesting (perhaps more so on paper), she, and her cohorts, aren't that compelling when combined with director Tony Scott's direction. The only use I found for Domino the second time around, was watching the stunning Keira Knightley act tough while walking around in tight clothing. Everything else is merely background noise.

Original Review:
"My name is Domino Harvey. I am a bounty hunter."

The lead (and title) character is based upon, however loosely, a fashion model turned bounty hunter Domino Harvey. Keira Knightley portrays this troubled young woman who is the daughter of actor Laurence Harvey (who played Raymond Shaw in 1963's The Manchurian Candidate). After moving to the States and failing to fit in with society (such as a sorority), she manages to get in with a man named Ed (Rourke; Sin City) and his bounty partner, Choco (Ramirez). The two work for bail bondsman Claremont Williams (Lindo; Get Shorty) when Domino charms (as only she can do) into joining their crew.

As the film opens, the you know what has hit the fan, as Domino is in FBI custody, for what we do not know... though it would've made the experience so much better saving me a good 2 plus hours of time. In any case, the plot after showing Domino's past (and her crushing experience of losing her precious gold fish), begins after $10 million is stolen from an armored truck. Problem is, this cash belongs to the mob, though who exactly took the money and isn't so clear. I won't spoil the "twist" for those who actually might want to see the movie, so I'll just stop there.

Thinking about Domino as a whole, I compare it to a summer crapfest known as Fantastic Four. Despite some cool camera moves and powerful explosions that will wake your grandma up from a coma, you just know sitting in that funky theater seat (have you ever seen them when all the lights are up), that the film you are watching is just bad. Not terrible, worst movie ever bad, but just a stinker. Well, I got that same feeling walking away from this one.

Rising starlet Keira Knightley, a beauty with talent, just didn't have the talent/experience to make this character three-dimensional. But is it her fault? Could the role in the hands of another young actress been better? Probably not. This is more the fault of either the editor or the screenwriter depending on if they expanded on her background. However, if they did that, then the film easily would've neared 3-hours... As if 2 hours plus wasn't enough.

Co-starring with Knightley is Mickey Rourke who, part from Sin City in which his ugly mug gets uglier underneath a ton of make-up, hasn't turned in a good performance for some time. However, for this part, Rourke is alright. He develops a nice on-screen chemistry with Knightley, but I think as with the Domino character, Ed too wasn't nearly developed enough. Along with Rourke are Ramirez (making his American feature debut), underrated character actor Delroy Lindo, Lucy Lui as well as Mena Suvari and Christopher Walken (playing reality TV producers making a show called "Bounty Squad" on the WB network). While these are all recognizable faces, they don't add anything to the final product. And to be more blunt about it, when you have someone like Walken, you expect certain things. Yeah, his character was somewhat eccentric, but compared to his other characters, it's quite normal which is not a good a thing.

Director Tony Scott seemed to make an exact copy of 2003's Man on Fire, well, at least style-wise and even the score. He once again uses subtitles and puts them up on the screen in a unique fashion. Some move across, dissipate, or disappear "behind" an object on the screen. This style was fun and interesting for Fire, but, in conjunction with the shaky camera syndrome -- so shaky, those complaining about The Bourne Supremacy haven't seen anything yet, but for Domino it took me out of a story already void of emotion.

Along this theme, Scott reuses Harry Gregson-Williams' brilliant score for Fire. I own the soundtrack and have listened to it several times. Although there are some cues that were new to me, many did seem unaltered. Was this a cost-cutting thing? Were the other cues leftovers or something? Whatever it was, the score worked for Fire, but in Domino, it didn't feel right.

Overall, Domino plain and simple is not a good movie. Does it have any merits? The action scenes and explosions were cool, but if I wanted something like that, I can just watch xXx... at least then I'd find the "story" entertaining. I can't say this was disappointing as I wasn't really looking forward to the movie, but I am disappointed that Keira Knightley has not caught on nor has found the right niche. She can add Domino to the list of failures like King Arthur and The Jacket.


Despite flopping at the box office -- taking in a mere $10 million on an estimated $50 million budget -- the Domino DVD is packed with some decent extras that even modest hits don't receive.

Director and Screenwriter Commentary - Tony Scott and writer Richard Kelly's (Donnie Darko) commentary were recorded separately and edited together for a more cohesive dialogue filtered with various trivia. I actually would've preferred the two get their own tracks because both deliver some interesting items about the making of Domino and their personal stories about meeting the reel thing. I've enjoyed both their comments in previous DVDs (Man on Fire for Scott, Donnie Darko: Director's Cut for Kelly). But, with what is there, it's a fine and informative track never the less.

Script Notes, Story Development Recording - Listed on the press release as an "Audio Commentary", this track is actually a recording of Tony Scott, Richard Kelly, executive producer Zach Schiff-Abrams and actor Tom Waits going through the script notes. The recording itself isn't the greatest (probably came from a standard recorder), but I have to give it to New Line and Tony Scott for providing it on the DVD. The group talk about what they want or don't want in a certain scene. For instance, during the lap dance scene, screenwriter Kelly didn't want it to become some comedy bit from American Pie, with Scott and others agreeing in part... Even though it isn't the most fascinating track, it's still the first time I've ever heard of this being done.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes - In all, there are 7 deleted or alternate scenes accompanied by an optional commentary with Tony Scott. Other than the first one, with a young Domino acting against authority (she ties up her nanny), none of the others give any more insight into the character or adds anything to movie. Tony Scott seconds that stating that these scenes were cut due to time. Of interest to some, there is an alternate sex scene, described by Scott as a f**k scene, between Edgar Ramirez and Knightley. Nothing more is seen from the theatrical version (that I could tell), other than some new music.

"I Am a Bounty Hunter: Domino Harvey's Life" - Earlier I talked about the difference between someone being interesting versus compelling... well, I found this feautrette about real Domino and those around her to be both. Throughout, there are various quotes from Domino and a couple stood out to me: "Why be normal, you know? And what is normal? I don't know it means" and "Heads you live, tails you die." Neither is profound, but I believe they are the essence of who Domino Harvey was and perhaps what Tony Scott was trying to convey with the film. At nearly 20 minutes, I learned more about who Domino was and even cared about her. There is an alternate audio track in which writer Richard Kelly interviews Domino Harvey. Watch the featurette first and then re-watch it with this track, it is well worth it. Also, there are a deleted scene or two included which were not included in that section.

Bounty Hunting on Acid: Tony Scott's Visual Style - This featurette gives the technical side of the making of Domino, beginning with how it was shot -- using hand-crank cameras -- and refining the things he had done in Man on Fire. I appreciate, as I said before, what Tony Scott was trying to do. There's also a good amount of film terminology used such as: forward flashes, back flashes and color reversal (which is "cross processed" and "chemically manipulated". Despite the fact that this is a good featurette, if you're interested in Scott's technique, check out the 2-disc Collector's Edition of Man on Fire, it goes into further detail on the hand-crank camera and other things he does to give it that unique look.

The disc also includes the theatrical and teaser trailers. Although they're not overly useful, I appreciate it when DVDs include them as more and more do not.



Domino is presented in widescreen, 2.40 aspect ratio and, as per Tony Scott's crazy style, is very gritty, grainy and dark overall (though not too dark that it's difficult to see what's going on). Most of the visuals seemed washed out, overexposed and while in itself isn't that bad, it did detract from the story.

The biggest plus, however, goes to the sound department (as most New Line releases go). Both the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and DTS 6.1 are strong and, by switching back and forth throughout various scenes, I actually couldn't tell much of a difference. Some of the louder scenes seemed deeper with DTS, but you if you don't have a DTS decoder on your system, you're not really missing much.

The very standard Dolby Stereo Surround is also available if you're using a regular television.


Even though I did not care for Domino, I am impressed that New Line gave it the treatment they did. Under another studio, this would've been released with a mere trailer and leave it at that, hope that it gets lost on the rental shelves (or amongst the cheap DVD pile at Wal Mart). Instead, it's packed with good features worth at least one look/listen.

However, because I felt the movie wasn't very good, I can't recommend a blind buy, but for these features and because Tony Scott's style is so off the wall at times, maybe you'll dig it and perhaps you'll find the character to be compelling and interesting.