Keira Knightley stars as the beautifully defiant and dangerous Domino Harvey in Tony Scott's gritty, wild action thriller.
Loosely based on the child of the late, respected actor of The Manchurian Candidate, Domino comes across as a feverish dream, "Rashomon-style". Scott's trademark razzy visuals like Man on Fire are evident again in a visceral, kinetic experience that isn't as thrilling to watch as it probably was to make.
The real Domino died mysteriously earlier this summer of an accidental drug overdose which may have led to the film's postponement. One could also understand Scott's deliriously diligent post-production work on a subject he found dynamic and spirited, enough so to act as her surrogate father.
Knightley passes quite well as a model with her sexy British accent and fights hard against her winsome waifishness as displayed in Pirates of the Caribbean and shows some of the same spry pluck as in Bend it Like Beckham.
"I am a bounty hunter" is spoken and repeated during the course of the picture by the unhappy Ms. Harvey. The transition of a Ford model into a shotgun-wielding bounty hunter hardly hits the stratosphere of the Scott oeurve, though the climax takes place in the snazzy Vegas "Stratosphere."
The screenplay is played in forward and reverse with much regularity by Richard Kelly whose Donnie Darko has achieved cult status. Domino's interview by the FBI's criminal psychologist Taryn Miles, a focused and precise Lucy Liu, cues the events. Suffice to say, Taryn's probing gets more than smoke in her eyes.
From an early tense scene of Domino's adventure of extortion, her recollections of an untamed child come through in boarding school and her brevity on the modeling floor and reflection on the loss of her beloved, respected father.
Her introduction into bounty hunting at a seminar provides one of many comic moments as she meets speaker and bail bondsman Claremont Williams III (Delroy Lindo) and a tough, ex-con, Ed (Mickey Rourke, so good in Sin City) who is a godfather of bounty hunters. The wolfish Ed and his rugged Latino sidekick Choco, done with a forceful aplomb by Edgar Ramirez are taken aback by this rebel who makes them look cool.
After this point, the second "half" of Domino collides with reality-TV, getting much mileage off of the DMV and "Beverly Hills 90120", a show watched faithfully by her socialite Vogue-model mother Sophie Wynn, a sophisticated, elegantly-costumed Jacqueline Bisset. Christopher Walken, in his third Scott film, is the high-strung producer of "Bounty Squad" which never existed. Domino's colorful cadre, which includes the explosive Afghan Alf (Rizwan Abbasi), are the stars of a show which take this acid-trip off the map, which much of the shoot highlighting East L.A.
There is some action-packed moments when Domino and her adventurers are in full kick-ass mode and a flipping flashy Winnebago is a sight to behold. Knightley can be standoff-ish and risque in a part that requires some nudity and bleeds for the danger and the unpredictability of the profession. There are some nice touches as when "The Manchurian Candidate" appears on TV in a scene with Domino and Ed and risible ones like the mistress of Claremont, Lateesha (Mo'Nique), on a Jerry Springer program discussing the issue of mixed races.
Regretfully, with all of the pulsating images of film and digital video that slickly advance the convoluted plot smoothly devised by Claremont involving the FBI, thieves, the mob, and college students, this radical Domino theory delivers a frenetic, surreal, but manufactured life.