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MiraJeff Tussles With DOMINO!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

I’ve heard such split things about this film. I know people who adored it, and I know people who could barely stomach it. One friend of mine called it “barely releasable,” while others seem to really groove on what Tony Scott did visually. I’m hoping I see it tomorrow night so I can weigh in, but for now, here’s MiraJeff with a review that seems like it was tough for him to write...

Greetings AICN, MiraJeff here, bearing some very sad, terribly disappointing news.

Contrary to Lord Harry’s glowing review, it seems that Domino is a serious misfire. Before I begin this scathing indictment, let me spare my idol, my boy, Richard Kelly, from my crosshairs. From what I have been told, his script for Domino was a visceral experience all on its own. An experience that both merited and warranted Tony Scott’s unique visual style. The script, from what I have been told, was bursting with juicy dialogue and breakneck energy, mostly created from the loins of its colorful, hardcore characters.

Now like I said, I haven’t read Kelly’s script but judging from the film it turned into, it couldn’t have been as good as his scripts for Donnie Darko and Southland Tales. I had the opportunity to visit the set of Southland Tales while I was interning in Los Angeles this summer. Needless to say, filming got pushed back until 2 days after I left sunny California, which amounted to no meeting Richard. No going on a film set. Zip. Nada. But then, two weeks ago, I got drunk dialed by Richard Kelly. From Seann William Scott’s birthday, no less. My friend and former boss Luke Greenfield arranged the call, coming through on his promise to put me in touch with Richard. It was four in the morning on the East Coast, but based on the one minute I spent barely understanding him (it is loud at Seann William Scott’s birthday parties), I could tell that Richard Kelly was a very nice, very cool guy. Again, no explanation necessary because he made fucking Donnie Darko! One minute out of the guy’s time pretty much made my month.

It’s true that Kelly is a young filmmaker with a lot to learn, but he’s clearly a special talent. A genius, if you will. But Kelly’s smartest move of all may have been to keep Southland Tales to himself. And not hand a great script over to Tony Scott.

Because if Domino is any indication, he will ruin it. Pretty much single-handedly. Kelly is one of film’s most innovative, freshest directors. Tony Scott used to be. Kelly has been defined by the success of Donnie Darko, and I have a feeling he’s ready to be prove it was no fluke. After Southland Tales, you will see Kelly is no one-hit wonder. But for now, he does only have one hit, though the abomination that is Domino is hardly his fault. Domino was one of my most highly anticipated films of the year. If it’s also one of yours, please don’t let this review deter you from theaters. This was a movie that I was crying out for me to love it. Its target audience is literally, the male college student with a biological obligation to see anything with Keira Knightley or Mickey Rourke. The chick’s either gotta be hot, or the dude’s gotta be able to kick ass. Check and check. I mean, I even consider myself a huge Tony Scott fan. Hell, I even loved The Fan. From Crimson Tide to True Romance to Enemy of the State, he’s been the Man on Fire, pun intended.

But Domino… this was a joke from its incredibly retarded opening credit sequence, which looks like a rap music video. I turned to the friend I saw the film with and we just stared at each other, totally confused. Domino is not the rock fever dream Kelly supposedly envisioned it as. It has more in common with the crap on MTV. I mean, some of Scott’s decision making is baffling. Case in point: The end credit sequence, which is even more absurd than the opening titles. Here, Scott rolls out each character’s picture, followed by their first names. Like, cut to Christopher Walken doing his shtick. Freeze. Christopher. What the fuck is that? Which brings me to… Cut. Freeze. Keira.

I don’t buy into the whole Keira Knightley thing. There are several celebrities who fall into this category, of media darlings that I just can’t stand. The other names on this list include Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Garner. Who are these people? What’s their deal? Why are these people famous? Maybe I’m ignorant, but I don’t get it. Discuss it in the TalkBacks. Seriously, she did King Arthur. Not to mention Pirates of the Caribbean, a competently mediocre movie that hardly deserved a sequel, let alone two shot back-to-back. Gore Verbinski should concentrate on making more films like The Weatherman, not Disney theme park sequels. I really thought this would be the movie where Keira clicked for me. Alas, no. King I didn’t understand why Domino was so angry? What made her that way? When Keira does her impression of a bad-girl, i.e. giving a lap dance (wearing underwear) to a gangbanger, the scene was completely ridiculous. If that guy and the rest of his gang were actually the bad motherfuckers they allegedly were (which is why Domino the bounty hunter was after them in the first place), they would’ve raped Domino before the killed here and her two cool friends. I mean, imagine what happens immediately after that lap dance. Does she put her clothes back on and go “that was a close one, Ed!”

Domino is that kind of head-scratcher of a movie. The entire film is framed by Domino talking to the Feds (Lucy Liu) about a botched robbery. But there’s a catch. Our narrator’s memory is unreliable because she’s on mescaline. Well there’s a weak, uninspired device if I’ve ever heard one. Scott and Kelly love using this against us, manipulating the audience to thinking one thing, so they can so cleverly pull the rug out from under us later. In one hand, Scott says here, these characters die and this happens. But in the other hand, he says actually those characters didn’t die, and this didn’t happen, that did. This movie pissed me off to no end with bullshit moves like that.

My rant aside, there are a few things to like about Domino. For starters, the supporting cast. I agree with Harry and everyone else in the world who loves that Mickey Rourke is back on the big screen where his macho attitude and jailhouse mug belong. I was also impressed with newcomer Edgar Ramirez, who is an intriguing find who I’m sure will find better material once his career takes off. When the two of them go face to face after Domino rejects Choco, it’s a great scene. Perhaps the best in the movie. There’s stiff competition in watching Choco blow off a guy’s arm with a shotgun. The reality show that points its cameras on Domino and the gang is a relentlessly stupid idea. It’s a prime example of Kelly overwriting, when he should’ve focused on keeping it simple. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Domino and Choco’s romance, but because of the reality show set, that relationship is reduced to a stereotypical Hollywood sex scene. Did New Line brass actually like that reality show idea? That shit never happened to the real Domino Harvey, who never would’ve signed on to such garbage. However, it’s because of that reality show crap that we get two great performances from 90210 alums Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering, doing a riff on themselves. The pair completely redeems itself by having the balls to laugh at themselves in a big Hollywood movie. And yes Harry was right, their reactions after being released from their roles as celebrity hostages are priceless. Good stuff. The same can’t be said for Christopher Walken, who is dangerously close to become a self-parody, on par with Al Pacino. Walken plays a TV producer and though he’s underused, he feels woefully out of place. Delroy Lindo does solid work, as does Mo’Nique, who surprised me with her acting chops and comic timing. Mena Suvari, Jacqueline Bisset, and Dabney Coleman all have roles too small worth mentioning, while the real Domino Harvey cameos at the end. The film is, after all, dedicated to her memory.

It’s a shame then that this tribute to an extraordinary individual is, sorry to say, ordinary. Its biggest problem is that we can never see what the hell is going on. Every image Scott uses is toyed or tinkered with. Sped up or slowed down. Every shot is washed out colors, grainy images, or littered with those stupid flashes of light in the background, that would pose a problem to people with epilepsy. Tony Scott needs to just chill out for a little bit. Calm down. Take some Ritalin. Or a Xanax. And call his brother in the morning or something. Domino is so hyper-stylized it makes Oliver Stone look like Gus Van Sant. The other problem is that the film lacks a heart. It’s all sizzle and no steak. What’s the story really about? Three misunderstood misfits who join forces to eliminate the bad guys of the world? Why did Domino want to be a bounty hunter so badly? And why should we root for them? At no point in the film did Domino, Ed, or Choco feel like a hero.

In Harry’s review, he called Domino a Keira Knightley exploitation flick. I beg to differ. It’s we, the audience, who are being exploited. Domino is a total hoodwink. You might even walk out of the theater saying positive things, but let it sit for a while. You won’t remember it. It is an utterly forgettable film experience. A movie that could’ve been so much more, if Scott had paid attention to the old saying, “less is more.”

Guys, Harry’s opinion means a lot to me. He’s honestly the first critic I wanna hear from when reading up on a movie. Just because I write for the site doesn’t mean you should take that lightly. But on this one, he’s way off. Domino fails on nearly every level. Not even Donnie Darko himself could pick up this fallen Domino.

Ouch. Still... can’t say I’m shocked, since I’ve heard people react like this to the film already. Now I’m more intrigued than ever.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:20 a.m. CST

    domino trailer

    by Jubba

    must it play every time i open AICN? i get it, it's a gun movie with a girl...i'll watch the trailer on my own time, though

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:35 a.m. CST

    2nd Yo!

    by MrInsidious

    I think...

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Truely Jubba

    by MrInsidious

    However, movies have been stanky on the whole with a few exceptions, maybe this movie is that good that it must needs be ever present.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:38 a.m. CST

    that assholed dissed my Scarlett

    by Holodigm

    motherfucker's going down! or maybe i just won't finish the review...

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:47 a.m. CST

    not even donnie darko

    by gredenko

    would try to end his review with a worse attempt at a clever line like that. boo.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Knightley??? Hah, I've seen better looking women in european

    by cherrycola

    Fuck that. She's not talented in the least and its just hollywood...desperate to get the next julia roberts out there. I've watched Knightley in a few interviews and she's such a damn phony FLAKE...its painfully obvious she's gone down on a few hollywood execs. Trust me, in a few years she'll be putting out a shitty CD and be doing commericals for proactiv solution or doing a show for fox/cbs/nbc/abc/WB just like that jennifer love hewitt harlot. BLEH.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:01 a.m. CST

    Star Wars Episode III will own your ass!

    by jesuschrist

    Both cheeks. Owned.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Hey! A quality review!

    by barryap

    I actually understand why the reviewier didn't like it, which is rare for this site. Also, no glariing grammatical errors. Kudos.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:31 a.m. CST


    by Jubba

    all i'm sayin' is, can't the trailer just sit there and wait to be clicked before playing? it just bugs me a bit that it plays every time i go to the main page or even some other sub-pages. it even bugs me more than the huge pictured link to the box set of buffy dvds at the end of every other posting...but that's just my opinion

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:33 a.m. CST

    He almost had me convinced...

    by aSTRESSEDavenger

    ... until he started saying how shitty PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN was and made that MAN OF FIRE pun. Reviewers who make puns should be kicked in the DOMINOs. Pun intended.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:41 a.m. CST

    man ON fire

    by aSTRESSEDavenger

    Still, what an asshole.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:52 a.m. CST

    by MisterCynic

    how can you not at like like pirates? theres not much mediocre about it, especially when you realize its a summer popcorn movie. whatever...

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:58 a.m. CST


    by Meremoth

    Fierst off her acting doesn't stand out as particularly good, but it doesn't stand out as particularly bad either.But because she was in Star Wars Episode I (Padmes body double). So she is actually the only human Star Wars chick I like. Lea was hot back in the day but now, Carrie Fisher is ... well lets not go there. And Natalie Portman pisses me off for some unexplainable reason. I think its prbly bc I hate the whole Padme character. Plus Keira has taken pts that present her as strong but not like a Butch character (except maybe in this movie). I personally think action actresses are hotter than, lets say your regular actress. Those are my reasons. Tear em apart all you want but I still think she is gorgeous.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 2:03 a.m. CST


    by The Thinker

    The guy's been doing lots of great work lately, but when is he going to pick a movie that a wider audience than douchebag teenagers will love? Someone throw him another 'Angel Heart.'

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 2:25 a.m. CST

    Re: Rourke

    by aSTRESSEDavenger

    Yeah, another DOUBLE TEAM!

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 2:37 a.m. CST

    I bet he likes Dunst

    by 007-11

    That fucker. Just based on the clip I saw on Leno I can't say I have much confidence in the way its shot.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 2:53 a.m. CST


    by kintar0

    that's not even Knightley's body in the lap dance scene, it's a body double. She's show her own flat chest, but not her own flat butt?

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 2:54 a.m. CST

    what is with this guy's manlove for Richard Kelly?

    by freak2thec0re

    I mean, seriously, the guy's made one freaking film. If you read the book they released about it, he literally says right out that he banked on the fact he could make the story completly confusing and nonsensical and people would think it was deep and go crazy for it. I have a bad feeling Southland Tales will go for the exact same thing . . .

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 3:33 a.m. CST


    by deanamatronix

    Somebody speaks the truth about Knightley and Pirates Of The Carribbean. Knightley maybe hot, but she CANNOT act. If she less attractive, she would not be getting lead roles in films. It's about time Hollywood stopped hiring talentless pretty faces to carry movies. Case in point- Orlando Bloom. He's put me off going to see Elizabethtown and I fucking love Cameron Crowe's movies. Goddamn it. As for Pirates of the Carribbean. Did I miss a memo? Why the fuck is everyone gushing over this movie? It's not that good. Apart from two rather good performances from Depp and Rush, the film was a piece of shit. Watching Bloom try to sound tough during his first fight with Depp was laughable. What's the big deal? And TWO sequels?! Hollywood is drying up fast.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Keira, Scarlett, Kirsten and Orlando...

    by KID AB

    ...are the onesw at the moment with the most exposure. I mean I understand they are needed to sell movies,but their exposure A) Shoves them straight in our faces and B) Sell THEMSELVES more than the films they are starring in. The movies themselves become little more than an afterthought. I recently wrote a blog commenting on this, and how this is damaging hteir reputation as actors.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 4:35 a.m. CST


    by SnowMann


  • Oct. 12, 2005, 4:39 a.m. CST

    "I recently wrote a blog commenting on this, and how this is dam

    by SnowMann

    That is a very amusing thing to confess right there.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 4:50 a.m. CST


    by KID AB

    Are you referring to fact that I blog or that I can't spell "Their". I mean is anyone else annoyed by the four actors I've listed. Orlando Bloom mentioned that he did a Gap commercial, that's more amusing than what I have confessed to.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 4:51 a.m. CST

    This confirms the suspicions...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...I've had about Domino since seeing the trailer for the first time. I don't know if anyone else here has seen them, but there was a series of short films made to loosely advertise a while back. Tony Scott's particular film, Agent Orange, was excrutiating to watch. In fact, it looked like a parody of Scott's new penchant for ultra-stylized shite. It actually gave me a bona fide headache. It sounds to me like Domino is the two-hour version of that particular type of torture. No thanks. I might add that I'm a huge fan of many of his flicks, but his latest faiblesse for strung-out, teen-friendly, ADHD editing and "cool" lighting is killing my love for the guy. Hard. But then again, I still prefer to read books predominantly made of paper, so what do I know?

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 5:27 a.m. CST

    I thought MiraJeff was offering a well-reasoned opinion, until I

    by Trader Groucho 2

    So I figure if he thought Domino was a misfire, it must be worth a trip to the gigaplex.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 5:38 a.m. CST

    deanamatronix - um, Bloom's character in Pirates was not SUP

    by Trader Groucho 2

    course of the film. It was good casting, unlike his miscasting in Kingdom of Heaven. I'm not joining in the anti-Bloom talk here, as I thought he held his own under PJ's tutelage. Hated Troy, but he was cast properly there. Bloom is like Keanu Reeves. In the right roles, he's good. Outside of his zone, forget it.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 8:11 a.m. CST


    by ALUCINOR11

    Kiera knightley is hot? This movie sucks already because of the trailers? That's all you can say? What kind of movie fans are you? HOT CHICKS, EVERYTHING SUCKS. It's fucking sad. The comic book store guy on the simpsons would be ashamed.

  • It sucked, yet people revere it as the modern Citizenf'ingkane. Yo, the Emperor has NO clothes!

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 8:29 a.m. CST

    A Codicil to My Living Will

    by Aquatarkusman

    If I ever start to "groove on what Tony Scott did visually," you can put me down with extreme prejudice, and it's all nice and legal.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 8:29 a.m. CST

    From what little I've heard about bounty hunters, they tend

    by FrankDrebin

    If some cocaine or loot disappears during the 'citizen's arrest', who's to know. And if there's shooting, hey--they were just apprehending some bad guys. I'd fault Hollywood for glamorizing this group, but it's the audience (male teens) who dig these "lone wolves" who "play by their own rules", "yo".

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Wait and see....

    by Ironthorman

    I agree with the comment on such like Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly who are both fucking aggrevatingly reported on, photographed, talked about, and/or featured in some sort of tabloid newspaper or magazine at a ridiculous rate. And the main problem with this being that they are not uber talented in any way that I can see. They join a gaggle of other young actors these days that are more about their gorgeous faces than doing some quality, edgy films that are worthwhile and, hell, may even entertain a few people here and there. But Scarlett Johansson was always different for me. I think she can be a brilliant performer, with movies like Lost in Translation under her belt, but I will agree ever since The Island, things do look dim for the future.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 10:43 a.m. CST


    by Jack D. Ripper

    This guy is ridiculous with the name-dropping--oh Seann William Scott's birthday parties are loud--oh Richard Kelly drunkdialed me--and this barely counts as a review. AND FUCK RICHARD KELLY! THE GUY'S NOT KUROSAWA OVER HERE!

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 11:10 a.m. CST

    KID AB

    by SnowMann

    I was referring that you wrote a rant about it here, and then felt the need to tell us you wrote a blog about the very same thing sometime recently. The fact that you wrote a blog about this damaging their jobs as actors is amusing enough tho. ps t before h essentially always.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:28 p.m. CST

    I haven't seen Knightley act pretencious in any interviews

    by Doc_Strange

    Though she is hot as hell, and I do have a thing for tiny chicks too. I have a few reservations with this movie such as the MTV ADD style, though anything with Rourke plus some hot sex in it, I'll sit through.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Oh wait. I may have to take back what I said on Harry's thre


    Soooo the look of this film IS just the hackneyed "looks cool" cliche and doesn't tie in to the story? Grrr. I'm so confused. Is this gonna rope me in and turn out to be Stig-friggen-mata?

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Pirates of the Caribbean made nearly $700 million worldwide...

    by Canada's King

    Certainly doesn't warrant a sequel now does it?

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 2:04 p.m. CST

    "one of film

    by Phloton

    When was Tony Scott ever one of these? If there was no Ridley, Tony probably never would've gone beyond British commercials. Loud, choppy, misanthropic movies don't make you innovative.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 3:33 p.m. CST


    by AwesomeBillFunk

    I was more then happy to read Massawyrm's review, listen to his opinion, consider his viewpoint. I mean maybe the movie isn't so great? Heck I haven't seen it right? Then I get to some part of the review about Scarlet Johansson which I didn't really understand -was he saying she's not hot? That she's not attractive?? Is that possible? Is that what happened? What just happened? Where am I? And then I realized that this reviewer is COMPLETELY INSANE, Scarlet Johansson -not attractive?

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 7:42 p.m. CST

    I love how this site keeps pimping this movie...

    by Film Whisperer

    But every respectable reviewer on the planet (see is already writing this off as one of the worst movies of the year, and probably the worst of Tony Scott's career. Considering he's the guy who made THE FAN, this must be pretty shit. Shows how much mileage Richard Kelly can get out of the ass kissing wannabe who write for this site.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 7:45 p.m. CST

    And yes, DONNIE DARKO sucked

    by Film Whisperer

    I'm with 99.99% of the population who saw that movie for what it was: a predictable, pretentious, amateurishly directed movie that played to the tiniest of cult followers. Unfortunately, that tiny cult screamed loud enough and Kelly is enough of an ass kiss so we have to keep hearing how "brillant" and "innovative" that movie was.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Moriarty: Hire This Guy

    by billwiser

    or at least encourage him to write more. holy shit, that was terrific critical opinion to balance the flab.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 9:21 p.m. CST

    I read the script to "Southland Tales." It sucked.

    by Mr. Waturi

    I loved "Donnie Darko," too. But let's not start calling this guy the second coming. "Southland Tales" is a dull script and "Domino" sounds like crap.

  • Oct. 12, 2005, 11:26 p.m. CST

    How you can have so much talent...

    by lindyboy

    and screw this up is beyond me. I will still see Domino, because I am an obligatory Tony Scott fan (Tony Scott could crap in a box and I'd go see it.). That and my Walken fan factor will compel me to see this, regardless of bad reviews. I suppose that given this review I'm happy for once that I see films for free.

  • Oct. 13, 2005, 10:46 a.m. CST


    by Mafu

    I was hoping for more praise of "Domino," but, like most of Tony Scott's films, it's a love it or hate affair. Count me among those who hate Tony Scott's MTV visual style, paper thin characterizations, and pathetically bad action sequences. He's the ultimate style over substance filmmaker. "Man on Fire" could've been a great, emotionally gripping revenge flick in the hands of a different director, but in the hands of Tony Scott it became a flashy, emotionally flat, overwrought piece of shit. I was hoping Tony would change my mind with "Domino," since I mostly agree with the reviewer's assessment of Richard Kelly, but I should've known Tony would dump another turd on America's feet. Way to go. I'll skip this one.

  • Oct. 13, 2005, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Re: Guy Fawkes

    by Mafu

    You wrote, "I'm with 99.99% of the population who saw that movie for what it was: a predictable, pretentious, amateurishly directed movie that played to the tiniest of cult followers." You didn't like Donnie Darko, that's fine. But you sound desperate writing that 99.99% of the population thought it was a amateurish film. I respect your opinion of Kelly -- he's not for everyone. That's cool. But don't quote statistics if they're not true.