Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Falling Dominoes

Domino, as one of Kevin Smith's Clerks might have put it, wasn't even supposed to be here today. Keira Knightley's model-turned-bounty-hunter thriller was supposedly placed on indefinite hold after its real-life subject Domino Harvey died of an overdose (much as the Hugo Weaving-Natalie Portman V For Vendetta has been pushed back till March 2006 because its storyline needs Weaving to blow up Big Ben) but then showed up on time after all, possibly to capitalise on Keira's Pride and Prejudice still knocking around. The Gazette went along at the weekend purely because it was developing the beginnings of the flu (and trusts it's the non-avian variety), but a head cold did wonders for Matrix Revolutions, after all.

Come to think of it, one of the screengrabs from IGN.com's review of Matrix Revolutions shows two of the women from its Aliens-knockoff siege sequence with the caption: Hey, who's this Vasquez everyone talks about? Flak jacket and (gold-plated) dog tag notwithstanding, nobody's going to say this any time soon about Knightley, whose career so far has taken in a swashbuckling sidekick, a midfield general, and a Buffy/Ruslana-ised Guinevere. I'm conveniently forgetting about her Lizzie Bennet or her queen-bee public schoolgirl in The Hole, but what even those have in common is a cut-glass English accent and a regular obligation to pout.

For various reasons, the Gazette might well be a target audience for this sort of thing, especially when its head is too full of Beechams Flu Plus to wonder how an English model with a Beverley Hills 90210 complex got taken on as a bounty hunter in the first place, let alone just how implausible it is that anyone, even Keira-Domino-Guinevere, could keep their Immensely Symbolic Goldfish in an open bowl on a Winnebago window sill. Besides, when it comes to Domino's native Chelsea-tractor land, the Gazette is ready to believe anything.

Unfortunately, Domino has the jump-cutty, bright-coloured visual feel of an extended Bacardi ad, and the narrative confusion of a script re-assembled at random after a paper jam, with the exception of an irrelevant four-minute sequence taking the rise out of mixed-race identity politics and Jerry Springer (from 'Blacktino' to 'Chinegro' - Google can't find a single site which mentions these in any non-Domino context whatsoever) which goes for cheaply caricatured laughs at the cost of a lingering bad taste in the mouth.

Tony Scott's last big feature was morally dubious kidnap thriller Man on Fire, and Domino owes much to the morally even more dubious territory of Quentin Tarantino, or Robert Rodríguez's Sin City (Edgar Ramírez vs. Benicio del Toro; Keira Knightley vs. Rosario Dawson; Mickey Rourke vs. Mickey Rourke). The supporting cast is even propped up by Tarantino alumni such as Christopher Walken and Lucy Liu, whose FBI agent provides the only moments of proper electricity across a hundred-odd (or should that be a hundred odd?) minutes.

And in case you don't dare ask the question, the number of excruciating 'domino' puns is: 1. Well, they had to find room somewhere for the goldfish symbolism...

PS: strangely enough, the cinema seems to be Night Watch-less this week...

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