Domino Harvey, 35, the wild child of the late actor Laurence Harvey and a Vogue-model mother (played by Jacqueline Bisset), was found unconscious in the bathtub of her West Hollywood apartment. The cause of her death on June 27th was accidental drug overdose. Her life as a former Ford model turned shotgun-slinging bounty hunter is the subject of Domino, a frenetic mix of fact and fiction directed by the notoriously slick Tony Scott (Man on Fire), from a script by Donnie Darko‘s Richard Kelly.
With sexy British beanpole Keira Knightley in the title role, the movie is full of possibilities. Frustratingly, only a few of them are realized. Knightley plays hard against her wispy damsel image from Pirates of the Caribbean. She blows smoke and fires lipstick-lesbian advances at the FBI criminal psychologist (Lucy Liu) whose interview with Domino frames the film. Then we’re off to flashbacks of Domino’s Beverly Hills upbringing, the death of her father (she was only eight), her troubled life at boarding school, her rebellion against modeling and her introduction to bounty hunting through ex-con Ed Mosbey, played by Mickey Rourke in full nutso mode. As Domino watches her dad on TV, acting with Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate, Ed announces, “I knew Frank,” with a secret smile that seems hilariously inappropriate.
Just like the movie. When Christopher Walken shows up as the producer of Domino’s reality-TV show about bounty hunters and ts fulminating about fonts used in the ad campaign, the film’s already tenuous relationship with reality runs off the rails. The fact that the show never existed is part of Kelly’s expressed desire to turn Domino’s life into “a punk-rock fever dream.” Scott does his part with the same overcaffeinated camerawork — a mix of film and digital video — that made Man on Fire a chore. It’s not that Scott can’t stage action. Pulses will pound watching Domino bust in on bail jumpers. But as Kelly veers into increasingly obtuse flights of fancy and Scott fills the screen with colors that bleed and emulsify, you realize that what got lost was Domino. She deserved better.