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Tony Scott
Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Riz Abbasi, Delroy Lindo, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, Lucy Liu
Writing Credits:
Richard Kelly, Steve Barancik (story)

Based on a true story ... sort of ...

A trademark Tony Scott film and starring Keira Knightley, Domino presents an entertaining mix of gritty action and a sharp visual style. The film is inspired by the life of Domino Harvey, a former model who rejected her privileged Beverly Hills life to become a bounty hunter.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$4.670 million on 2223 screens.
Domestic Gross
$10.169 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 2.40:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
English DTS 6.1 ES

Runtime: 128 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 2/21/2006

• Audio Commentary with Director Tony Scott and Writer Richard Kelly
• Alternate Audio Track: Script Notes and Story Development Meetings with Tony Scott, Zach Schiff-Abrams, Richard Kelly and Tom Waits
• “I Am A Bounty Hunter: Domino Harvey’s Life” Featurette
• “Bounty Hunting on Acid: Tony Scott’s Visual Style” Featurette
• Deleted/Alternate Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary
• Trailers


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Domino: New Line Platinum Series (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 10, 2006)

In just a few short years, Keira Knightley has gone from cute and spunky soccer gal in Bend It Like Beckham to aristocratic love interest in Pirates of the Caribbean to angry bounty hunter in 2005’s Domino. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is!

Knightley plays the title role here as Domino Harvey, the daughter of Manchurian Candidate actor Laurence Harvey. When we meet her, she’s in FBI custody and being questioned by psychologist Taryn Miles (Lucy Liu). From there the movie retraces a little about Domino’s early life and relationship with her mother Sophie Wynn (Jacqueline Bisset) after her dad’s death.

We trace Domino’s move into bounty hunting and her relationships with cohorts Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke) and Choco (Edgar Ramirez). They attract the attention of TV producer Mark Heiss (Christopher Walken) and they get their own reality TV show. Much of the film focuses on a complicated robbery, however, as Domino and the others get ensnared in this heist – and that’s why she ends up with the FBI.

At the movie’s start, we’re told it’s based on a true story – “sort of”. Don’t mistake that for an indication that Domino will provide a biopic. Indeed, the picture does little to accentuate the real-life of Harvey, as it prefers to treat her as a simple cog in the machine.

What does Domino have to do with reality? Not much, I’d guess. Movies “based” on truth take plenty of liberties, so the “sort of” means that we can likely expect almost nothing connected to Domino’s biography.

Honestly, that’d be fine with me if the movie entertained and succeeded. I worry less about a flick’s veracity and more about its overall quality. While Domino managed to keep me moderately involved for its two hours, I can’t say it did more than that.

Part of the problem stems from how much the flick misuses Domino as a character. Though the movie sets her up as a rebellious badass, it soon loses any regard for her as a character. The film goes off on tangents and concerns itself much more with the criminal caper than it does Domino. The flick could have dealt with virtually any bounty hunters and worked just as well, as it didn’t need a character as intriguing as Domino. She’s just a prop to draw in an audience.

This means we get virtually no insights into Domino’s character. The story tosses out exceedingly superficial comments about her personality, but at no point do we get any feeling for what made her tick. That’s because the movie just doesn’t care; it likes the idea of Domino and doesn’t think about the reality.

I don’t think Domino needed to be a straight bio-pic to work, but it definitely could have used more consistency. It flits from action-thriller elements to sensitive drama to reality TV/showbiz parody. The last aspects work the best, but the jarring jumpiness becomes a distraction and gives the impression no one could figure out what kind of film they wanted to make.

The director shoots himself in the foot in other ways as well. As was the case with Man on Fire, Tony Scott obsesses over a distracting visual style. He pours on odd colors, jerky slow motion and absurdly rapid cutting to make the movie an incoherent mush. Scott tries to desperately to be edgy and hip that he loses focus and ensures the story becomes secondary to pointless flash.

Domino is one of those movies that leaves you with little more than a headache. With its barely coherent story and its annoyingly stylized visuals, it assaults us but rarely involves us.

The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

Domino appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film offered consistently strong visuals.

Sharpness consistently appeared crisp and detailed. At no time did I discern any signs of unintentional softness or fuzziness, as the movie always came across as well-defined and accurate. Some shots were purposefully distorted, but I didn’t count them as an issue. Moiré effects and jagged edges showed no concerns, and edge enhancement appeared absent. Print flaws were non-existent. Stylized grain popped up at times but no unintentional flaws could be found.

Domino went for a heavily stylized palette. Ugly yellows and greens dominated, and other unnatural tones showed up most of the time. Nonetheless, they came across as accurate and distinct within those parameters. The hues rarely looked natural, but they weren’t supposed to generate that appearance, so I was satisfied with the tint found during much of the movie. Black levels seemed to be deep and rich, while shadow detail was clear and appropriately opaque. Domino offered a strong transfer.

The DVD for Domino packed both Dolby Digital EX 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 soundtracks. Both seemed similar, as I discerned no substantial differences between the pair. I thought they were essentially identical.

Music dominated the soundfield. The score and song snippets mixed together well to create a broad, involving field. Stereo separation was excellent, and the music spread to the surrounds neatly. Effects focused mostly on gunfire, explosions, and various vehicles. All of them blended well and transitioned smoothly. The surrounds bolstered those sequences nicely and gave the movie a fine sense of atmosphere.

Audio quality was excellent. Speech consistently sounded natural and distinctive, with no edginess or problems connected to intelligibility. Effects were concise and tight, and they showed no distortion or flaws. Music demonstrated fine dynamics. Highs were clean and bright, and bass response was consistently deep and firm. This ended up as a terrific soundtrack.

Heading to the extras, we start with an audio commentary from director Tony Scott and writer Richard Kelly. Both recorded separate running, screen-specific tracks, and this one edits them together. The program covers the expected subjects. We learn about the project’s development and writing of the script, basing matters on real-life and factual liberties, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, and technical elements. In the latter category, we learn a lot about the movie’s visual style as well as music, editing, and other related topics.

Both Kelly and Scott prove to be solid commentators. They have experience with the format and that shows as they tear through a mix of useful issues. They cover the requisite material nicely and give us good insight into the making of the movie. This ends up as a strong and impressive commentary.

We also get an Alternate Audio Track. This features script notes and story development meetings with Scott, Kelly, executive producer Zach Schiff-Abrams, and singer/actor Tom Waits. Waits only pops up briefly around the time his minor character appears onscreen; the others are more consistent participants.

This turns out to be a terrific “fly on the wall” way to examine the creative processes. We listen as those involved work through the script and fine-tune it. We get great insights into the issues they confronted and how they resolved them. Scott and Kelly also give us a nice glimpse of the pressures related to directing films. This is a very cool and fascinating way to get a look at the production.

Two featurettes appear. First comes the 20-minute and 31-second I Am A Bounty Hunter: Domino Harvey’s Life. It offers movie clips, behind the scenes and archival materials, and interviews. We hear from Scott, Kelly, Domino herself, Domino’s mother Paulene Stone-Burns, producer Samuel Hadida, childhood friend Annabelle Neilsen, former bounty hunter Choco, technical advisor Zeke Unger, co-producer Peter Toumasis, and actors Keira Knightley and Edgar Ramirez.

As you might expect, “Hunter” looks at issues connected to Harvey’s life. We get a quick overview of her childhood, move to bounty hunting, and death. Some of this reiterates topics discussed in the movie, and the show doesn’t expand a whole lot. It’s not exactly detailed, so don’t anticipate a lot of new information here. It is good to get reflections from her mother and Choco, though, and we also find some interesting notes from Domino herself.

For more of that, we can also watch this featurette with an alternate audio track. That presents Richard Kelly as he interviews Domino Harvey. They discuss her move into bounty hunting and her experiences there, reflections on her cohorts, her attitudes about her Beverly Hills life, and a few other biographical bits. The interview focuses largely on the bounty hunting side of things, which I guess makes sense since that’s the emphasis of the movie. This is interesting, though I’d have preferred more reflections on other parts of her life.

For the second featurette, we find the 10-minute and 37-second Bounty Hunting on Acid: Tony Scott’s Visual Style. This presents comments from Scott, Kelly, Hadida, executive producers Skip Chaisson and Barry Waldman and director of photography Dan Mindel. This looks at the movie’s photographic choices to show us what the filmmakers wanted to do and how they did it. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but we get more technical details, and it helps that we can see the material as they discuss it. The program offers a decent exploration of the movie’s flashy visuals.

Seven Deleted/Alternate Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 53 seconds. These primarily include an alternate version of the lovemaking scene, more with Domino and her mother, and additional shots of the TV bounty hunting. The parts with Domino’s mom are reasonably interesting, but the others seem superfluous. We can watch these with or without commentary from Scott. He gives us the appropriate notes about the scenes and why he cut them.

The DVD opens with ads for Final Destination 3, The History of Violence and Blade: The Series. These also appear in the DVD’s Sneak Peeks area with promos for 11:14, Havoc and 50 Cent: Refuse 2 Die. We get both the theatrical and teaser trailers for Domino too.

From what I know, the life story of Domino Harvey would make for an interesting flick. Too bad Domino apparently has so little to do with reality, as it prefers to use Harvey as a gimmick and not a full-fledged character. The DVD features excellent picture and audio along with a mix of good extras. I especially like the recordings of script meetings since they give us a terrific look behind the scenes. I don’t think much of Domino as a movie, but it makes for a strong DVD.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2 Stars Number of Votes: 30
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