Monday, October 17, 2005

Girls With Guns Double Feature Part One: Domino

Yeah, so I saw it. It was killing me that Zack saw the girl-bounty-hunter movie and I hadn’t. I went in expecting to really hate Tony Scott for his ridiculously over-the-top emphasis on meaningless stylistic flourishes—the fast cuts to meaningless angles (which gave my friend a headache, especially after two hours), the echoing of the voice over (“My name is Domino Harvey…My name is Domino Harvey…I am I am I am a bounty hunter I am a bounty hunter.”), the arbitrary use of onscreen text (that slides on rather than simply appearing) the super-saturated color, the general senselessness of all the choices…

I usually find that self-satisfied style very obnoxious. But I actually found myself embracing it. Domino is largely a movie about style for style’s sake. It has no real purpose beyond pushing things to the extreme, and ultimately I liked it best when it was extreme. I liked it when it was most violent and nihilistic (blowing the guy’s arm off for no real reason, the chaotic massacre at the Stratosphere). I liked it when the plot got increasingly complicated and twisty, and hard to understand, but you just have to let it go and trust that eventually it may make some sense. This was pushing the narrative to needless stylistic extremes the same way Tony Scott was overdoing the visuals. I reveled in the sheer excess of it. And that Tom Waits scene? What the fuck? At these moments you’re just along for the ride on a batshit insane journey that makes no bones about how meaningless and decadent it is. “Momma Told Me Not to Come” plays and all is well.

On the other side of the coin (ha-ha!), the movie is at its worst when it pretends to have a purpose. I didn’t mind the heads-you-live-tails-you-die shit at first. Yeah, it’s annoyingly pseudo-spiritual/philosophical, but it also underscores the randomness and dumb luck through which Domino survives the events of the film. Unforgivable, however, is the ending when suddenly Domino is telling everyone that she loves them. So the moral is that she learned to love? It’s unearned and sappy. Fuck it. She’s a badass and a bunch of people get killed in a stylish way. Even if she does come to love Choco, it’s better if she doesn’t say it but we feel it. The scene with her mom was even worse.

Also, the movie is way too long. I hate that every movie is two hours long now. The 40-Year-Old Virgin is going to have an unrated cut that’s seventeen minutes longer. That movie was great, but it, too, was too long. Those extra minutes could be hilarious, but they shouldn’t be in the movie. But back to Domino. Two hours is a long time to look at a lot of stylish but pointless shit, and it should be shorter.

Keira Knightly looks great and acts very cool. I don’t know if you could really watch just the parts where she kicks ass, because honestly she doesn’t kick ass that much. But she always looks like she’s about to, which is what’s important. This is easily my favorite incarnation of Keira Knightly so far.

Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering, are, I think, attempting to do for themselves what Neil Patrick Harris did in Harold & Kumar. They’re game and it’s amusing, but I always felt a little too aware that they really were trying to jump-start their careers.

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