Domino has been cut to shreds, but still contains a few set pieces that make it worth your time. Release the De Palma cut!
God bless Brian De Palma. The baroque master of American cinema's stock may have tumbled compared to his New Hollywood peers like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, but even though he's now relegated to working on low-budget Euro-thrillers like 2012's Passion and this boilerplate cop movie, his filmmaking muscles still look sharp. Domino was reportedly snatched away from him by its producers and shredded in the editing room, but no amount of mutilation can disguise the fact that this is from the sick, brilliant mind that brought us Carrie, Blow Out and Body Double.
Visually and aurally we have the heart-stopping slow-motion sequences, split-diopter shots and sinuous Pino Donaggio score to clue us in, while the pulpy terrorist plot concerns De Palma's favourite subjects of voyeurism, government corruption and the evils of digital media. There's even a Hitchcock homage: a delirious riff on Vertigo's roof chase. The connective tissue between the virtuosic setpieces doesn't always sparkle. A trip by two Danish cops (played by Game of Thrones alumni Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice van Houten) from Copenhagen to Almería via Utrecht is so blandly shot and packed with exposition that it seems to be happening in real-time. But De Palma is admirably giving it his all in the film's handful of feverish scenes, despite obvious budget limitations.
Of these scenes that make Domino absolutely worth a rental, the most macabre involves a terrorist attack at the Netherlands' Film Festival which De Palma shoots as split-screen point-of-view shots from a camera mounted on the automatic rifle taking out stars on the red carpet (on the left of the screen we see the shooter, on the right her targets). Given De Palma's twisted sense of humour, it's hard not to read this as a dark FU to the middle-brow establishment who've turned their nose up at his giddy brand of cinema over the years. It's their loss.
Out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and on Digital HD via Signature Entertainment