Parents' Guide to

Domino (2019)

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Lots of style, violence in revenge-filled De Palma thriller.

Movie R 2019 89 minutes
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Thanks to a troubled production and a thin story and characters, this thriller from suspense veteran Brian De Palma doesn't rank with his best. But his still-masterful, bravura touches make it worth a look. Some sources suggest that Domino was intended to be much longer; perhaps that movie would have fleshed out some of the story's more emotional and political aspects. This 89-minute version skimps a little on relationships and character interactions, and it feels a tad irresponsible in the way it handles an ISIS-related story as regular thriller material. On the plus side, it moves quickly, like a brisk B movie, and De Palma's skills in communicating through a purely visual, visceral cinematic form haven't faded; in that, he has few equals working today.

The sequence in which Christian leaves his gun behind, a rooftop chase, a red tomato motif, and uses of modern technology like photos on a phone and an airborne drone showcase De Palma's skills at their most skillful -- and also show that he's not afraid to change with the times. In one shocking sequence, two cameras and split-screen are used to simultaneously show an ISIS assassin's face and her targets. But the iffy production buzz, plus the fact that this is De Palma's first movie in seven years (since Passion), will lead many to conclude that he's an artist in decline. But history shows that few of his works were ever appreciated upon first release, and Domino at least deserves a look.

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