Director Tony Scott's Domino is the self-described "sort of" true story of Domino Harvey. The daughter of actor Laurence Harvey and model Paulene Stone, Domino found her calling and her own brand of celebrity by joining an outfit of bounty hunters. In the hands of Scott, Harvey's life becomes a bad acid-trip laced with mysterious daddy issues, a color scheme that washes everything in fluorescent urine and lime-green jJello, and a general hyperactivity that makes a conversation indistinguishable from a firefight.
Screenwriter Richard Kelly—known as the writer-director of Donnie Darko—cuts Domino from the same cloth as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Truth is irrelevant in this seriously cracked, only-in-America urban legend; as the screen Domino puts it, "If you're wondering what's true and what's not, you can fuck off and mind your own business." There's something admirable about this rebuke to literal-mindedness: at least it's clear in its intent.
But the statement implies that Scott will replace objective truth with deeper, impressionistic truths. Regarding Domino's character, however, Scott shows all the interest of a wall-bouncing ADHD kid who's gone off his meds. As always, the director uses orgiastic violence and editing so jittery it'll send you into rapid eye movement. The overcooked style turns the film rubbery and unpalatable, serving only to caricature a larger-than-life figure. Um, should I fuck off now and mind my own business?
Small compensations come in the forms of Kelly's convoluted, kicky heist-movie plotting and Christopher Walken as the anchor of an otherwise tired reality-TV satire. In a straight up rip from Oliver Stone, Kelly and Scott strand their bounty hunters in the desert, dose them, and deliver unto them a fortune-telling preacher played by Tom Waits. "I know you," says The Drifter to Domino. "You're the Angel of Fire." Yeah, and I'm Mickey freakin' Mouse.
Speaking of Mickeys, Mickey Rourke drawls effectively through the sort-of juicy part of Domino's bounty-hunting partner, while Edgar Ramirez smolders as the third member of the bounty-hunting family, Domino's hetero boytoy Choco (ch-oh-koh). Depending on who you ask, the real Harvey was hetero, bisexual, or lesbian, a possibility teased by a flirty, picture-long interrogation session between Domino and a federal agent played by Lucy Liu.
Harvey visited the set, shot a brief appearance, and participated in some promotion, though rumors have surfaced that she was none too happy with the finished product. Facing federal drug charges, Harvey died of a painkiller overdose earlier this year. If you can stand her rich-bitchy accent ("I am a bown-ty hunt-a"), Keira Knightley is reasonably credible as Domino, but given a story that ultimately abstracts Harvey when it should illuminate her, audiences would be better off renting Domino's obvious inspiration: Oliver Stone's genuinely and brilliantly satirical Natural Born Killers.