For masochists who always wondered what Sgt. Hartman’s threat to “gouge out your eyeballs and skull-fuck you” in Full Metal Jacket might have felt like, the answer may lie in Domino, Tony Scott’s newest strobe-light masturbatory extravaganza, a movie so aesthetically corrupt that it makes Michael Bay’s The Island look like a Bazinian tract by comparison. Domino Harvey, the British celebrity brat (daughter of Manchurian Candidate thesp Laurence Harvey) who notoriously rejected her rich upbringing for an ass-kicking career as a bounty hunter, is the subject here, or “sort of,” according to the facetious opening credits. The spotlight remains squarely on Scott’s own stylistic bombardments, already cranked up to 11 well before wispy, shotgun-cocking punkette Domino (Keira Knightley) and fellow “warriors” Ed (Mickey Rourke) and Choco (Édgar Ramírez) are introduced midway through a Winnebago skirmish. The director’s militant juicing-up, even more ludicrous than in Man on Fire, has spread here into a saturated smear, with sped-up motion mingled with slow-mo, changes in stock, aural blurs, split-screens, and subtitles at the service of mindless fragmentation. Scott’s degraded montage, where the wave of a hand is splintered into half a dozen micro-shots, is given an appropriately convoluted narrative by Donnie Darko auteur Richard Kelly’s screenplay, which saddles the trio with nunchacks-twirling, stolen mob loot, jokey amputation by shotgun, and token media criticism via network impresario Christopher Walken’s Reality TV send-up (Beverly Hills 90210 alumni Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering are recruited as themselves, neither achieving even a fraction of Neil Patrick Harris’s fuck-my-image Harold & Kumar turn). The film eventually trips out in mescaline-laced coffee, though long before that things have been more spastic than hallucinatory, culminating in an apocalyptic rendezvous reminiscent of True Romance, Scott’s earlier collaboration with a hipster neophyte scribe. Indeed, much of Domino is colored with Tarantinoid gloss (Mo’Nique’s high-decibel Jerry Springer melee on racially mixed “Blacktino” women is the picture’s timid equivalent of the Sicilian monologue from True Romance), never more so than in its intimations of spiritual redemption. Called an “angel of fire” by prairie preacher Tom Waits, Knightley’s Domino is a poor little rich girl who talks about a “higher power” while Scott stages a fireball to the final chorus of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion—a dead goldfish signifies innocence lost, and the flip of a coin points toward divine fate. It might all sound like the same moral confusion, though a surreptitious yet real spirituality suffuses Tarantino’s characters, breaking through the armor of archetype to dodge the abyss of nihilism. Domino, meanwhile, remains oblivious to the irony of a soulless product boorishly aiming for the heavens.
- New Line Cinema
- 128 min
- Tony Scott
- Richard Kelly
- Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Édgar Ramírez, Delroy Lindo, Jacqueline Bisset, Lucy Liu, Mena Suvari, Christopher Walken, Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, Dabney Coleman, Rizwan Abbasi, Macy Gray, Shondrella Avery, Joseph Nunez, Tabitha Brownstone, Tom Waits
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