Starring: Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Lucy Liu, Delroy Lindo, Jacqueline Bisset, Mena Suvari, Christopher Walken
Director: Tony Scott
Keira Knightley is the hottest woman in Hollywood, and comeback king Mickey Rourke is the man. Surely, the two teaming up would be the perfect equation for the sleeper hit of the year. I couldn’t have been more wrong, though the first hour of Tony Scott’s latest film, “Domino,” represents what could have been one hell of an entertaining movie. And then, something happened that changed my opinion for the worst: the second half. Suffering from Scott’s penchant for editing his movies like he’s on acid and letting them run much longer than necessary (check out “Man on Fire” for more evidence of this), “Domino” is more likely to make your eyes bleed and deliver a splitting headache than anything else.
Very loosely based on the true story of Domino Harvey (Knightley), the film begins with the socialite-turned-bounty hunter meeting with a criminal psychologist (Lucy Liu) after a job gone wrong. Her narrative takes the audience through a quick journey of her life, including her lavish childhood as the daughter of a famous actor (Laurence Harvey, played by Jesse Pate) and her sudden desertion of a career as a world-class model. The real action begins when she joins up with two real-life bounty hunters, Ed and Choco (Rourke and Edgar Ramirez, respectively), and an Afghani driver named – get this – Alf (Riz Abbasi).
Before long, the team becomes involved in a reality series on the WB entitled “Bounty Squad” produced by TV bigwig Mark Heiss (Christopher Walken) and hosted by former “Beverly Hills, 90210” stars Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green. The cameras follow them around on every job, and their latest mission involves tracking down four men who ripped off $10 million from an armored vehicle while dressed as First Ladies Bush, Clinton, Reagan and Onassis. But it’s never as simple as it seems, and Domino and Co. uncover a series of under-the-table deals that may have royally screwed them over.
Knightley is amazing, as usual, playing the very complex Domino, but methinks that there’s a whole lot more to this girl than the movie lets on. Ms. Harvey was apparently also bisexual and a raging drug addict, but the script never makes mention of any of this. Rourke, on the other hand, isn’t as entertaining as he should be (see “Spun” for a killer performance), but relative newcomer Edgar Ramirez is a blast to watch on screen, with a deadly resemblance to old-school Antonio Banderas. Most of the many supporting actors that Scott has rounded up are also fairly disappointing, including Walken and Jacqueline Bisset (as Domino’s mother), while surprisingly enough, some of most enjoyable moments of the film come from Ziering and Green’s parodies of themselves.
Since the film jumps around a lot, a majority of the story is told through numerous vignettes that don’t really make any sense until the end, and to be honest, are much more enjoyable as separate entities. It’s almost as if director Scott had a bunch of good ideas and then employed a screenwriter to figure a way to link them all together. There’s also a healthy mix of comedy on everything from mixed-ethnicity flow charts to the inaccuracies of Mapquest to why celebrity hostages are better, but they all feel like gimmicks meant only to make the audience feel better about the end product. And just like Domino’s flip of a quarter to decide whether one lives or dies, you’ll be doing the same to determine how you feel about this movie.
The single-disc DVD release of "Domino" includes a decent offering of special features including a commentary track with director Tony Scott and writer Richard Kelly, script notes and story development commentary, a featurette on Domino Harvey's life ("I Am a Bounty Hunter"), a visual style featurette ("Bounty Hunting on Acid"), and nine deleted scenes.