Domino Harvey
"Created" by Tony Scott, Richard Kelly and Steve Barancik

"If you're wondering what's true and what's not you can beep off because it's none of your damn business!"
Domino lays it on the line.

"You're probably wondering how a girl like me arrived here, at the arse end of the Nevada desert with a blood-spattered Winnebago and a one-armed man."
-- Domino introduces herself to us.

Actually, I'm wondering how such a potentially fascinating story ended up being such a piece of crap.

Although the 2005 bounty hunter flick Domino was supposedly based on a "true" story (just like The Amityville Horror or the Iraqi War), it's just a whole lot easier to turn off your brain completely and try to regard it as pure pulp fiction.

And even then it's a hard slog. Still, it's easier to swallow this cinematic turd as a hopped-up cartoon than to take seriously the over-the-top pretensions of director Tony "Top Gun" Scott's "impressionistic interpretation" on the life of beautiful public school-educated English girl turned ass-kicking gun-toting LA bounty hunter DOMINO HARVEY.

Yes, Domino Harvey was the daughter of acclaimed actor Laurence Harvey, and yes, after stints as a fashion model and pampered Beverly Hills brat, Domino Harvey did indeed become a take-charge Los Angeles bounty hunter, kicking down doors and hauling assholes back to jail. But evidently that wasn't enough for the ham-fisted film maker and his screenwriters, Richard Kelly and Steve Barancik-- nope, they had to get "creative.".

First mistake? The miscast yummy-as-ice-cream Kiera Knightley as the hard, thin-lipped, chisel-faced Domino (in the DVD special feature interview, she looks like an ex-Hitler Youth member). And the real Domino, while undoubtedly attractive in a chilly fashion-model Eurotrash way, was also saddled with a major drug problem, a penchant for violence and more issues than a magazine stand -- a far cry from the pouty-lipped, puppy-eyed girl-next-door Knightley, a usually more-than-competent actor, who portrays Harvey as an essentially good but mixed-up kid. Picture Bambi with a gun trying to over-compensate by screaming a lot. Oooh, the angst...

But Scott's biggest mistake was dumping the psychological complexity and dark messiness of Domino's life, and trying to transform it into a dumbed-down, tricked-up guns-a-blazing caper flick that -- ironically -- came out a noisy, convoluted mess anyway. But whereas Domino's contradictions and complexity were the product of real-life, the film's sloppiness reeks of simple cinematic ineptness, weak writing and glaring artificiality.

So instead of something like the similarly themed, flawed but ultimately compelling character study of The Hunter starring the late Steve McQueen, we're subjected to a frenetic blend of redundant and frequently laughable dialogue, pointless montages, artsy-fartsy jump-cut edits, gratuitous violence that gives gratuitous violence a bad name, vapid narration and every other annoying ham-handed straight-outta-film school gimmick you can think of, the net result about as pretentious and unwatchable a film as you could get from a "name" director, possibly the stupidest crime flick since Brian diPalma's equally brain-dead Femme Fatale.

Supposedly, before she died (of heart failure, in her bathtub, supposedly full of enough drugs to stun a rhinoceros, at the ripe old age of 35, shortly before the film was released), the real-life Domino gave a thumbs up to this portrayal.

Which may just be all the proof you need that she was seriously fucked up.

But no matter how fucked up she was, she deserved better than this...



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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