What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie isn't for kids. Violent in content and form, it features murders by a variety of means (shootings, explosions, knifings, bare-hands and martial-artsy assaults). Its look is grainy and harsh, and its editing is very fast and aggressive, matching the storyline. Characters drink, do hallucinogenic drugs (resulting in a scene in van and then, after it crashes, in a desert), and smoke, lots. The film features a lap dance by Domino, and shots of her bottom "crack" under low-rise jeans, ogled by tattooed bounty hunters at a meeting.
What's the story?
DOMINO tells the story of the model, daughter of movie star Laurence Harvey, bounty hunter, and drug addict who was found dead of an overdose in her L.A. apartment in 1995. The film opens with Domino (Keira Knightley) -- in her present, bloodied, sultry, and chain-smoking -- as she explains her part in an armored truck robbery to FBI Agent Taryn Miles (Lucy Liu). She reveals rejecting her fashion model mother's (Jacqueline Bissett) "90210 world," and, following her expulsion from college, she pursues bounty hunting, teaming up with veteran Ed Moseby (Mickey Rourke), psycho killer Choco (Ed Ramirez), and an Afghani explosives expert (Rizwan Abbasi). She proves her worth by stopping a shootout with a gang by lap-dancing the leader. Subsequent successes lead to a reality show, "The Bounty Squad," but things go very wrong while they're on a job for Claremont Williams III (Delroy Lindo). Suffice it to say that stuff blows up and the TV camera indicts you for watching. It's not news, but it is hectic, sensational, and true enough.
Is it any good?
This is a brutal, lurid, and romantic take on Domino's life. It's also a compelling film in its structure and challenge to conventions. But it's not suitable for children and will trouble some adults. The movie comes hard and fast, a two-hour assault of broken bodies, harsh lights, gun blasts, and tabloidy effects structured as a jaunty, uneven flashback. Domino is not interested in legalities, facts, or justice. While its focus is surely erratic, it might be best described as a reflection on media's exploitative chronicling of crashes between the filthy rich and the dirty underclass.
When she appears at the very end of Tony Scott's raucous film, her shaved head, pale complexion, and large eyes hardly match the movie's version of Domino, perfectly coiffed, extravagantly made-up, and gorgeous, in the person of Keira Knightley. Even as it grants the film an unearned weight, this last portrait, brief and haunting, also underlines the movie's point: show biz kills.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the familial relationships that develop in the film. As Domino rejects her fashion model mother (and continues to mourn the death of her father), she finds a second supportive unit in the bounty hunters. How does the movie suggest that Domino, for all the difficulties of her life as a bounty hunter, finds a perverse peace and sense of understanding among these rough types? How does the movie use the framing device -- the interview with the FBI agent -- to provide Domino's point of view? Is this an effective device, given the harrowing chaos of the story she tells?