Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Domino

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content/nudity and drug use

Reviewed by: Todd Patrick
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Biography Action Thriller
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2005
USA Release:
October 14, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Keira Knightley, Mena Suvari, Christopher Walken, Lucy Liu, Mickey Rourke, Macy Gray, Jacqueline Bisset, Dabney Coleman, Delroy Lindo, Edgar Ramirez, Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, Tom Waits
Director: Tony Scott
Producer: Samuel Hadida, Tony Scott, Lisa Ellzey
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

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I Am a Bounty Hunter

I can remember when “based on a true story” meant that you were getting a close approximation of something that actually happened. Now “based on a true story” is being replaced by “loosely based on” or, in the case of Tony Scott’s Domino, “based on actual events …sort of.” I’m guessing that the only actual event that this movie is based on is the fact that Domino Harvey was a bounty hunter.

“Domino” is the story of Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley), a wealthy british girl whose father was an actor. After his death, her mother moves the family to Beverly Hills. Domino tries to fit in (sort of), but ends up being the rebel throughout high school and into college (where she is kicked out). She dabbles in modeling, but soon finds just about everything in life boring. Except violence. So she hooks up with Ed (Mickey Rourke) and Choco (Edgar Ramirez), who are bounty hunters in the employ of Claremont Williams (Delroy Lindo). She joins their crew and is soon named Bounty Hunter of the Year.

Christopher Waulken makes yet another minor role come alive (the man is brilliant!) as the producer of a reality show that follows the exploits of Domino and company. All of this leads to the inevitable conflict of mob money being stolen (the mob is always a “safe,” generic bad guy choice) and the bounty hunters caught in the middle of it all. I won’t give anything else away, plot wise.

Now that the synopsis is out of the way, let me say that “Domino” is a terrible movie.

It is part of the new breed of movies, a la Quentin Tarentino, that are all style and little substance. This is a dark, cynical, ultra-violent movie. There was no need to count curse words, there was one in just about every sentence.

Tony Scott has one-upped himself. His “Man on Fire,” which I enjoyed, was also ultra-violent, but had redemption at its core: the redemption of a man who is running from his violent past, but is forced back into it by the kidnapping of a young girl who has just begun to open his heart back to life. “Domino” has none of this. It’s about a world without values, filled with people who have no values. I can’t think of one redeeming person in the whole movie.

I had a similar reaction to “Lord of War”. There was nothing redemptive in that movie, either. I believe that for art to be considered art, it has to say something. It has to touch us in some way. It can touch on darkness and even dwell on darkness, but it can’t just BE darkness. At least, that’s what I believe as a christian. Domino is all darkness. It’s a movie for our attention deficit nation. The camera work is so shaky and chopped that it gave me a headache. Scott has Knightley narrate the movie and thinks it cute to freeze frames on anything new and print an introduction for us on the screen, as Knightley narrates for us. (Like “this is Choco,” then freezing on Choco’s face, then printing the word “Choco” on the screen.) It made the movie feel like a 2 hour advertisement or a bad tv show.

To my horror, halfway through the movie, there is a scene of Rourke watching porn in a hotel room. There were only about 10 people in the theater I was in, but when the picture zoomed in on the woman’s naked breasts, a small child in the theater began to laugh! I can’t BELIEVE anyone would take a child to see this trash. It made this appalling film seem even more appalling.

There is not much sex in “Domino”, but Keira’s sexuality is prominently displayed throughout the entire movie. This includes a lapdance scene in her underwear and also one drug-induced sex scene at the end of the movie. (Plus, random shots of porn on TV screens.)

I feel obligated to list the positives, simply from a film-lover’s standpoint: the script is well-written with some funny moments, the ensemble cast is spectacular, and Scott is very good at creating interesting, though dizzying camera work. As I stated at the beginning of the review, this is the height of style without substance. If you are a christian, I would tell you to avoid Domino. It’s not worth the price of admission and it surely doesn’t dwell on anything Godly or have any kind of message. It doesn’t say much of anything at all. It is simply ultra-violent eye-candy. Just don’t forget to take your Ritalin before the movie begins.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Negative—I went and saw this movie yesterday, with my girlfriend, who is also a born-again believer. Definitely shocked by how trashy it really did get. I would have to say there is more sex than is being let on in your review though. The strip club, the lap dance, the porn movie, and the sex scene between Domino and Choco. …I would not recommend this movie to anyone, the plot was “interesting,” and I did like that the movie ended in character with it’s narration, but then again, I liked the way Catcher in the Rye ended as well, so that’s just my opinion…
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Brent, age 21
Negative—I went opening night, not knowing much about the film other than that Keira Knightly was involved, and it was about bounty hunters. I was so disappointed. I love a good action movie. This wasn’t a good action movie, in fact, it wasn’t good at anything. The language was shocking. I’m a bit sensitive to this anyway, but it was over the top on this film. This is one of those movies filled with darkness—with nothing really to recommend it. It wasn’t well done, and it was offensive in every area: violence, language, morality, nudity, etc. Skip it. You’ll be thankful.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
—dave, age 36
Positive—…Violent and gritty best describe this and for those with delicate sensibilities I strongly caution against this movie. …it delivers a brilliant version of reality based upon the life of the real “Domino Harvey.” This is a very intense, intricate story full of fresh surprises and packaged as lush visual feast for the eyes. The camera work is superb, the cast is HUGE, and it’s very well acted. The Casting is right on the money with Mickey Rourque among others turning in first rate performances. It straddles the violent/ultra violent world of real life bounty hunting with a sordid cast of mobsters along with some of society’s less fortunate. To dismiss this film as a pure exploitation joy ride is to simply turn an insensitive eye to the measures some will take when life’s stakes are so high. From the mother of a terminal child to the disenfranchised Domino herself, each has a compelling story to tell and Tony Scott is just the director to do it so well. This film resonated with me for days after and few films do that. This is very much a love it or hate it film with an intensity that, while disturbing at moments, maintains a palpable sense of purpose. Not for the squeamish, but one heck of a ride. Like most films these days, it requires that you be comfortable with who you are as a person in Jesus Christ, if your on a crusade against the Hollywood establishment, naive of contemporary culture (as abhorrent as that can be at times) or wishy-washy in your faith in God, this is one that’ll get you worked up for sure…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Bob, age 38
Negative—I just watched this movie and it is terrible! The film making quality is horrible, and the film is full of cliched rebellious characters lacking any morals. The only religious character seems to be a magic palm reading theorist who represents religion as a joke. The movie tries to end on a redeeming note when Domino reunites and rekindles her friendship with her mother, but comes off a terrorist attack and scenes of terrorist funding portrayed as a positive. I really can’t sum up all that is wrong with this movie, but I must say do not waste your time with “Domino”.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1
—Dorian Gahm, age 18
Positive—The reason I gave this film a good score is because after viewing the film in its entirety, I was motivated to want to know Jesus’ will for me. In one of the scenes, Jesus (in the movie referred to as the Blood of the Lamb), had a will for Domino—to give the money back in order to fulfill a higher purpose. Yes, the film was a bit vulgar and violent, but the image of the man who came by in his 1950’s convertible in the middle of the desert with a Bible in hand stuck. And his message to Domino being very close to heart with a quarter in his hand as she had always from the time she took it from the church plate—called her the angel of fire. I don’t know what it meant, but the message was there. That’s how Jesus speaks to me. He comes out of nowhere to rescue me and straightens me out. It is an unconventional film of the sort, but am pleased that a even a little bit of Jesus’ message existed in this movie—you must be cleansed of your sins by the Blood of the Lamb. We should give Hollywood a little bit of credit for that bit.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Erika, age 31
Movie Critics
…Viewers can’t win with implausible plot, tired tricks… Convoluted “Domino” tumbles under weight of clichés…
—The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Paul Doro
…[D] a movie that wears its ultraviolence and fashionista grunge, its Oliver Stone-makes-a-Harley-Davidson-commercial visuals, and its fake-nervy aggression like a very ugly but expensive tattoo…
—Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman
…It’s fractured and maddening, but it’s alive. …a headlong, twisting energy, a vitality that finds comedy in carnage…
—Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
…It’s kinda cool but it’s basically just a big stunt…
—Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Phil Kloer
…punishing us with a non-stop barrage of imagery…
—Chicago Tribune, Allison Benedikt