Domino Harvey (Domino)

“Created” by Tony Scott, Richard Kelly and Steve Barancik

“If you’re wondering what’s true and what’s not you can beep off because it’s none of your damn business!”
— Domino lays it on the line.

“You’re probably wondering how a girl like me arrived here, at the arse end of the Nevada desert with a blood-spattered Winnebago and a one-armed man.”
— Domino introduces herself to us.

Actually, I’m wondering how such a potentially fascinating story ended up being such a piece of cinematic crap.

Although the 2005 bounty hunter flick Domino was supposedly based on a “true” story (just like The Amityville Horror), it’s just a whole lot easier to turn off your brain completely, stop wondering how much—if any—is true, and just try to regard it as pure pulp fiction.

And even then it’s a hard slog. Still, it’s easier to swallow this cinematic turd as a hopped-up cartoon than to take seriously the over-the-top pretensions of director Tony “Top Gun” Scott’s “impressionistic interpretation” on the life of beautiful public school-educated English girl turned ass-kicking gun-toting LA bounty hunter DOMINO HARVEY.

Yes, the real-life Domino Harvey (1969-2005) really was the daughter of acclaimed British actor Laurence Harvey, and yes, after stints as a a pampered Beverly Hills brat and a fashion model, Domino Harvey did indeed become a take-charge Los Angeles bounty hunter, kicking down doors and hauling assholes back to jail. But evidently that wasn’t enough for the ham-fisted film maker and his screenwriters, Richard Kelly and Steve Barancik– nope, they had to get “creative.”.

First mistake? The miscast yummy-as-ice-cream Kiera Knightley (stillearly in her career, and probablybest known for Bend It Like Beckham) as the hard-edged, thin-lipped, chisel-faced Domino (in the DVD special feature interview, the real-life Domino looks like an ex-Hitler Youth member). And while she was undoubtedly attractive in a chilly fashion-model Eurotrash way, she was also saddled with a major drug problem, a penchant for violence and more issues than a magazine stand– a far cry from the pouty-lipped, puppy-eyed Knightley, a usually more-than-competent actor, who portrays Harvey as an essentially good but mixed-up tomboy. Picture Bambi with a gun trying to over-compensate by cussing and screaming a lot.

Oooh, the angst…

But Scott’s biggest mistake wasn’t casting—it was dumping all the psychological complexity and dark messiness of Domino’s life, and trying to transform it into a revved up, overly complex, tricked-up guns-a-blazing action flick that—ironically–came out a noisy, convoluted mess anyway. But whereas Domino’s contradictions and complexity were the product of real-life, the film’s sloppiness reeks of simple cinematic ineptness, overwrought writing and glaring artificiality.

So instead of something like the similarly themed, flawed but ultimately compelling character study of The Hunter starring the late Steve McQueen, we’re subjected to a frenetic blend of redundant and frequently laughable dialogue, pointless montages, artsy-fartsy jump-cut edits, gratuitous violence that gives gratuitous violence a bad name, vapid narration and every other annoying ham-handed straight-outta-film school gimmick you can think of, the net result about as pretentious and unwatchable a film as you could get from a “name” director, possibly the stupidest crime flick since Brian diPalma’s equally brain-dead Femme Fatale.

Supposedly, before she died (of heart failure, in her bathtub, supposedly full of enough drugs to stun a rhinoceros, at the ripe old age of 35, shortly before the film was released), the real-life Domino gave a thumbs up to this portrayal.

Which may just be all the proof you need that she was seriously fucked up.

But no matter how fucked up she was, she deserved better than this…


  • “What “Domino” is really about is the opportunity to make use of one of the hot young things of the moment, British actress Keira Knightley, in a role that allows her to wear racy clothes, brandish shotguns, give a lap dance and say naughty things in a terribly posh accent.”
    — Los Angeles Times
  • “D grade… trash shot to look like art imitating trash… so dense with ersatz Elmore Leonard convolutions that it manages to stay three steps ahead of the audience and four steps behind common sense””
    — Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly)
  • “A character in Tony Scott’s Domino is described as having “the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth,” and that pretty much describes the movie.”
    — Roger Ebert
  • “I didn’t let the movie breathe enough. The script was great (but) I got overcome by the insanity of the world I was touching. I think I fucked up on that one.”
    — Tony Scott


  • DOMINO | Buy this DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
    (2005, New Line Cinema)
    Story by Richard Kelly and Steve Barancik
    Screenplay by Richard Kelly
    Directed by Tony Scott
    Produced by Skip Chaisson, Samuel Hadida and Tony Scott
    Co-produced by David Hadida and Peter Toumasis
    Executive producers: Lisa Ellzey, Victor Hadida, Toby Emmerich, Zach Schiff-Abrams and Barry Waldman
    Starring Keira Knightley as DOMINO HARVEY
    Also starring Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Riz Abbasi, Delroy Lindo, Claremont Williams, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, Joe Nunez, Macy Gray, Dabney Coleman, Lucy Liu, Christopher Walken, Mena Suvari, Jerry Springer, Tom Waits




  • August 3, 2023
    The Bottom Line: Celebrity fashion model turned kick-ass LA bounty hunter action flick, “inspired” by a true story. Sorta like the way cow patties are inspired by real grass. And they dragged that nice Keira Knightley into it.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. (2005)

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