Domino is a new movie from Brian De Palma, a man who rarely puts a foot wrong, so how come this film, which boasts the credentials of starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Guy Pearce get a rating of 4.4/10 on IMDB?
Cops Christian (Coster-Waldau – Headhunters) and Lars (Søren Malling – Borgen) are on the trail of ISIS, starting with Ezra Tarzi (Eriq Ebouaney), a man they come across who has with blood on his shoes, and a pile of semtex lying around. The flat is in a bit of a state, so it’s clearly not a ‘Homes Under The Hammer‘ job.
Guy Pearce is a CIA agent who wants answers from Ezra, namely to find head honcho Salah Al Din, who he last lost track of in Libya.
Domino has certain visual elements you associate with De Palma – such as the split-screen effect (above) where both a person in the fore- AND background are in focus, as well as when the camera is placed at an angle which would suit a ’60s Batman movie – but overall, it just doesn’t feel like it gels.
Pearce is always good value, but he’s not in this a huge amount. Beyond that, it’s bog-standard cop fare with no-one else bothering to act properly – including new cop tagging along, Alex Boe (Carice van Houten); and even when there’s a slo-mo scene which could go one way or the other, it’s meant to generate tension but does the complete opposite.
One particularly stupid happening is when a potential bomb is left in a bullfighter stadium, and the staff casually usher people out, even standing right in front of it. Surely the best thing to do is just set off the fire alarm? Then everyone will leave and the staff don’t need to put themselves in additional danger?!
And for some reason, this story begins on June 10th, 2020. Why is it set in the near-future when that aspect has no relevance to the plot whatsoever?
Coincidentally, this film is just as poor as the unrelated Tony Scott/Keira Knightley movie of the same name from 2005. A much better Domino to spend your time with, comes from Genesis’ Invisible Touch album. I’m going off the beaten track a bit, here, but it’s the only time I ever came across a CD where a track was split into two parts. Any fan of the album will know it had two parts – In The Glow Of The Night and The Last Domino – but if you had a CD player like mine (and I no longer have it, so don’t remember the model number), as well as the track forward and backwards options, there was an extra option to select such specifics within a track for those which supported it. Hence, you could go straight to that second part of the track.
In fact, looking that up, and I’m reminded that these sub-tracks are indexed on the disc, in order to find points within a track, and now I remember the button said ‘index’ on it. Plus, this guy has an interesting list of CDs with unusual indexes. In fact, one is from Phil Collins’ own Buster soundtrack!
But none of that has anything to do with this particular Brian De Palma movie.
All that said, it is nice to see an early chase scene which is reminiscent of some classic De Palma works, even if it is stupidly implausible to see law enforcement putting their lives on the line to chase after a baddie across a rooftop.
Running time: 89 minutes
Release date: August 5th 2019
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Format: 1.85:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K))
Director: Brian De Palma
Producers: Michel Schønnemann, Els Vandevorst
Screenplay: Petter Skavlan
Music: Pino Donaggio
Christian Toft: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Lars Hansen: Søren Malling
Alex: Carice van Houten
Joe Martin: Guy Pearce
Hanne Hansen: Paprika Steen
Ezra Tarzi: Eriq Ebouaney
Chief Detective Wold: Thomas W Gabrielsson
Secretary Wold: Verona Verbakel
Yusuf Hares: Illias Adabb
Salah Al Din: Mohammed Azaay
Farook Hares: Emrin Dalgic
Young Model: Ella-June Henrard
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.