Domino

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Domino (2005) is an action-thriller based on the life of Domino Harvey, daughter of film actor Laurence Harvey. The real Domino was kicked out of four schools as a child before eventually passing through a string of jobs guaranteed to amaze all but the most jaded: She worked (or claimed to work) as a Ford model, ran a nightclub in London, moved to California, worked as a ranch hand in San Diego, and finally did volunteer work for the Boulevard Fire & Rescue company near the Mexican border before getting into manhunting.1

Domino became a bounty hunter after seeing an ad for a seminar by Ed Martinez, and went to work for the Celes King Bail Bonds agency in Los Angeles. Her life led her to drug abuse, of which she finally died June 27, 2005.2 Before her death, however, Domino was fairly well-involved with the movie, which may have contributed to her death. She was reportedly very upset with the fact that certain aspects of her life were written out of the script (and thus the character), such as the fact that she had romantic involvements with both men and women. This of course may or may not have been the chief bone of contention (since the fictitious Domino's life is clearly significantly different from that of the character in the movie) but it is naturally the most reported - several tabloids picked up on the story and decided to refer to her as a lesbian, for which she was considering suing them.

Enough about the backstory of the real Domino; The fictitious one (played by Keira Knightley) grows up without a father, and has an affectation for violence that continually keeps her in trouble, as is illustrated in one scene that (briefly) portrays a sorority hazing. As in real life, one day she sees an ad in the paper for a seminar on bounty hunting, to be given by Ed Mosley (Mickey Rourke). Ed and his partner Choco (Edward Ramirez) aren't particularly interested in teaching a class of hopeful suckers to catch the bad guys, and after a bit of introductory patter they slip out the back and prepare to bolt with the money. Domino decides to jack up his car a bit, then talks the two into taking her seriously, and a plot is born.

In fact, when we first meet Domino in the movie, we see the oldest version of her first; significantly the worse for wear, and being interviewed by a hot little FBI number (Lucy Liu). This event is the culmination of a robbery gone badly awry, planned by the bounty hunters' associate Claremont Williams (Delroy Lindo). This twisted little web includes a mafia crime family, and the fictitious owner of the Stratosphere Casino and Hotel, Drake Bishop (Dabney Coleman).3

With all that said, Domino is most definitely not a must-see film. It boils down to being a kids' movie, sanitized to the point where the only offense given is blood and lots of it. The sexuality is pared down to the bare minimum necessary for entry into Hollywood and there is basically no actual factual material contained therein. The cinematography, which has been alternately panned and lauded, is deserving primarily of the former. Like so many other movies today (for example Ultraviolet) it's filmed and edited such that it resembles nothing so much as a music video. For those who don't already know this, it's a substitute for fight choreography, and for actual cinematography.

Basically, if I were an actual film critic, besides hacking most of the first two paragraphs off the top of this review, I'd be forced to refer to this as a "good-natured romp" or similar. Since I am simply an amateur, I am free to call this movie what it is: tripe. Small wonder that the actual Domino was dissatisfied.

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