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De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
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Listen to
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De Palma/Lehman
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Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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Saturday, September 26, 2020
EXHILARATING PIECE ON 'DOMINO' BY COLLIN BRINKMANN
MOVED DEEPLY BY DE PALMA'S LATEST, CONSIDERS AS POST-CINEMA, A STEP BEYOND, PERHAPS...?
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominoregrets45.jpg

Over at The 15:17 to Cinema, Collin Brinkmann has posted the most exhilarating piece we're likely to read about Brian De Palma's Domino, discussing the film as an artist's late-period work that is something close to the end of cinema as we know it:
This stranded film may indeed exist on an island within De Palma’s body of work, but if so it is an island of profound importance for the De Palma project, possibly a projection of where De Palma is heading with his art. The accidental nature of the lack of shooting days, or De Palma’s inability to oversee the final mixing and whatnot, can hardly wipe away what seems to me like a reasonably close facsimile of what De Palma originally intended to create, a film that was perhaps intended as a new step forward in his work—a step, perhaps, that goes beyond anything he’s ever done. Beyond in what direction? I have no idea. It is perhaps not beyond but deeper within his own artistic persona, so deep that it can only manifest itself on the surface in Domino’s austere images seemingly stripped of the usual ornamentation one is used to in De Palma. Next to something like Passion, Domino appears almost as post-cinema; compared to De Palma’s recent work it is disarmingly straight-forward, no narrative tricks à la Passion or Femme Fatale, no mystery between dream and reality or anything like that. It is instead bluntly barreling ahead and, I’d say, reaching for a new and deeper understanding of reality and the film image that captures it.

That is just a very small taste-- read the entire thing from top to bottom at The 15:17 to Cinema.

Posted by Geoff at 12:22 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 26, 2020 12:23 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 16, 2020
2017 FLASHBACK - HELENA KAITTANI ON SET OF 'DOMINO'
WITH NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU, IN ANTWERP, BELGIUM
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/helenakaittaniandnikolaj.jpg

Although her stunning beauty is on full display amidst the light and shadows in her early bedroom scene in Brian De Palma's Domino, it's nice that Helena Kaittani managed to snap a selfie with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau at the Antwerp apartment set of the film back in June of 2017. What a treat to see their faces up close and behind the scenes from that day. The pics above and below were posted earlier today on Nara Talent's Instagram page.


Posted by Geoff at 8:40 PM CDT
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Friday, August 14, 2020
FROM THE RAFTERS - 'VERTIGO' & 'DOMINO' SIDE-BY-SIDE
POSTED ON INSTAGRAM YESTERDAY BY CINEMASTERLY
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/vertigodominorafters.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 7:27 AM CDT
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020
JUNE 10, 2020
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominojunelamod.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:19 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
ADAM NAYMAN ON THE PARADOX OF 'DOMINO'
"HAS ENOUGH DIRECTORIAL EXCELLENCE IN ITS DNA TO, IN SOME MOMENTS, LOOK LIKE A MASTERPIECE"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/naymanbetter.jpg

Last week, The Ringer's Adam Nayman posted a social-distancing-related article, "Ten Movies That Are Better Than You’ve Heard."

"The question of what to watch while social distancing is ultimately less important than a lot of other things," Nayman begins. "But it’s also a reality that for a lot of people on self-imposed quarantine, renting or streaming movies will be a safe, significant time-filler—which is why it might be worth taking a bit of a risk in terms of what we’re watching. A case can be made that the time has never been better to rewatch old favorites or catch up with the classics, but what about some movies whose bad reputations previously made them seem like a waste of time? Here are 10 movies that are not only better than you’ve heard, but worth tracking down—and maybe talking or arguing about with your fellow shut-ins now that you’ve got the time to do so."

Nayman tops off his list at the end with De Palma's latest:

Domino

I wrote about Brian De Palma’s hot mess of an anti-terrorism thriller when it (barely) came out last year; if Domino was already DOA the second it hit VOD, it’s only been pushed further into the dirt ever since. The reason I’m recommending it again out of all the underrated movies out there is that it’s exactly the kind of film that benefits being watched when there’s time to process and think about it—to look past its thrifty production, evidence of meddling, and after-the-fact editing and look at what De Palma has to say about surveillance, governmental ethics, and violence as media spectacle circa 2020. The paradox of Domino is that on some level it’s a cheap, opportunistic, and wildly contrived genre movie. But it has enough directorial excellence in its DNA to, in some moments, look like a masterpiece, the same kind of outrageous, red-blooded entertainment De Palma was engineering at the time of Carrie and Scarface. Domino was a magnet for bad buzz and bad reviews, and yet it’ll endure on the strength of its bruised, submerged artistry.


PREVIOUSLY:

Nayman on the Split-Screen Shot in Domino - The Ringer
Nayman - The Wild World of Brian De Palma
Adam Nayman on the "Formally Innovative" Redacted


Posted by Geoff at 7:51 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 7:56 PM CDT
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Tuesday, February 4, 2020
'DOMINO' IS CUMBOW'S TOP FILM OF 2019
"COMBINING THE STRONGEST ELEMENTS OF FEMME FATALE & REDACTED"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominobaby.jpg

Robert C. Cumbow's list at Parallax View's "Best of 2019" post last month places Domino at the top of what Cumbow calls his "Magnificent Seven." Cumbow must not read our blog here at De Palma a la Mod (turns out he does-- see comments below), or he would surely have read that Brian De Palma claims that Domino was not recut. In any case, here is what Cumbow writes about the film in the best-of article:
I didn’t see all of the films I’d like to have seen, but I did a fair job of catching the ones I most wanted to, and of those, here are the ones I liked best:
Domino (Brian De Palma) took a lot of flak for being cut down from 150+ minutes to 88, but for me it was a crisp, clean 88 and the best film De Palma’s done since Femme Fatale. Combining the strongest elements of Femme Fatale and Redacted with some actual thought about what it means to make images and the all-too-human motivations that underlie our most high-minded moral choices, this has to be my top film of 2019.

Cumbow also lists two composers under "Music" - Pino Donaggio for Domino, and Max Richter for Ad Astra.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2020 6:33 PM CST
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Thursday, January 9, 2020
NOEL VERA - 'DOMINO' A MESS, BUT ALSO STYLISH, FUNNY
"DE PALMA HAS THE BALLS TO DARE, AND IN MY BOOK DARE WELL"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/entrancejoedomino2.jpg

In part one of his "In my book best of 2019," Business World's Noel Vera includes the latest works from Quentin Tarantino and Brian De Palma:
Finally there’s Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, which helped sharpen my fondness for yet another disreputable filmmaker who deals with lurid pulpy material — only difference being this filmmaker has talent and likes to take vicious jabs at the political establishment, often to his disadvantage. Brian de Palma’s Domino is a mess, but no more so than his other seemingly tossed-off efforts (Body Double, Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars). It’s stylish and funny, with some of its best broadsides aimed at the CIA; there are audacious setpieces and you can debate how successfully they’re executed but De Palma has the balls to dare, and in my book dare well. The filmmaker, alas, has disowned his work, declaring this wasn’t the film he intended; on the plus side you hope (as in the case of Snake Eyes) that a director’s cut will be made available some day.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Friday, January 3, 2020
ARMOND WHITE - 'DOMINO' > 'KNIVES OUT'
DE PALMA DEPICTS "THE WAR ON TERROR IN A SWIFT, EFFECTIVE GENRE EXERCISE"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominoguns.jpg

Today at National Review, Armond White presents "The 15th Annual Better-Than List." White chooses Pedro Almodóvar's Pain and Glory over the Safdie Brothers' Uncut Gems, and he chooses Brian De Palma's Domino over Rian Johsnon's Knives Out:
Pain and Glory > Uncut Gems Pedro Almodóvar’s gorgeous emotional autobiography showed wisdom while the Safdie Brothers’ ethnic carnival was callow. Antonio Banderas’s expressive regret and grace-filled recollections went deeper than Adam Sandler’s deliberately ugly, unfunny self-reproach.

Domino > Knives Out Brian De Palma reexamines his Millennial politics — depicting the War on Terror in a swift, effective genre exercise. Rian Johnson’s crass, pseudopolitical whodunit can’t tell where citizenship or humanity begins.


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CST
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Saturday, December 28, 2019
NAYMAN ON SPLIT-SCREEN SHOT IN 'DOMINO' - THE RINGER
"DOMINO FORCES US TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT INSTEAD OF SIMPLY CONSUMING IT"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/naymandominosplit.jpg

Earlier this week, Adam Nayman at The Ringer posted his picks for "The 10 Best Shots From Movies in 2019," and included the split-screen shot from Brian De Palma's Domino:
Brian De Palma is the supreme split-screen filmmaker of all time. Think of the prom scene in Carrie, or the doubling techniques in Dressed to Kill, or the boxing match in Snake Eyes; his ability to choreograph parallel action while subdividing the frame into different planes of perspective and meaning has always verged on authentic genius. Nobody wanted to give De Palma’s new, more-or-less direct-to-VOD thriller Domino credit as an auteur work, but the fact is that at least three or four of its sequences have the verve and invention of the director’s glory days, including the spectacular—and spectacularly incorrect—set piece depicting a terrorist attack on a European film festival, broadcast on a social media feed that shows the killer’s face side-by-side with the victims glimpsed through her weapon’s high-tech crosshairs. The result of De Palma’s visual gamesmanship is a multifaceted massacre scene that could just as easily be filed under exploitation as critique; by conflating different kinds of “shooting” (the camera and the gun) and reflecting the murderer’s gaze back at us twice over, Domino forces us to think about what we’re looking at instead of simply consuming it (even as the villains’ plans are explicitly to transform political violence into online entertainment). Long after many of 2019’s more conventionally lauded movies have faded from memory, De Palma’s unapologetic virtuosity will endure.

The New York Post's Sara Stewart would disagree with Nayman-- she includes Domino on her list of the five worst movies of 2019, writing that "De Palma scrapes the bottom of the barrel with this retro cop thriller, squandering the charisma of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the process." In her review of Domino back in May, Stewart wrote, "His split-screen signature move is used to gratuitously violent effect in videos shot by the terrorists, while the Arab villains themselves are so cartoonish you wonder how any actor could agree to play them."

Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, December 28, 2019 12:19 AM CST
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Monday, December 23, 2019
'ASKING IF IT WORKS MISSES THE POINT' - 'DOMINO'
FILIPE FURTADO ON "BRIAN DE PALMA'S EUROPEAN NIGHTMARE"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/buddhalaptop2.jpg

"If one wants to there’s a lot to see in those images," Filipe Furtado writes in a blog post about Brian De Palma's Domino, adding that "if you refuse, they are empty often cruel razzle dazzle." Furtado is getting at the heart of the tendency for viewers to either love or hate what De Palma is doing, with very little in between.

For instance, John DeFore writes about Domino as part of the Hollywood Reporter's staff picks for worst movies of 2019:

In his long and influential career, Brian De Palma has done things some might disapprove of. He has encouraged viewers' voyeuristic tendencies, stolen whole sequences (to excellent effect) from film pioneers and often been a king of the brainy, finely crafted guilty pleasure. But De Palma has rarely been guilty of dullness, as he is with this counterterrorism thriller starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, which offers just slightly more excitement than the average TV police procedural.

Someone like me will practically fall asleep reading what DeFore has written here, because he's doing it wrong. Domino is "dull"? You must not have been paying enough attention, because, to repeat from Furtado, "there's a lot to see in those images." Here's an excerpt from Furtado's Anotacões de um Cinéfilo blog post:
The editing is uncertain particular in the midsection. But the main problem seems to be production more than editing. De Palma has been very open about how troubling and cheap the shooting was and one might risk projecting into what we have, but a lot of it is very visible on the screen. On the basis of what we have, I assume it is more likely that it is the available version of what was shoot than the result of 150-minute movie becoming an 89 minute one. At a certain point, there’s a very good scene with Van Hauten visiting her comatose lover and bumping into his wife, that’s a character note that feels very out of pace into a rushed producer cut.

The third act in particular feels like a good chunk of whatever was planned for the Spanish part of the shoot never happened with a final scene that plays like an improvised soundstage wrap-up. The abruptness feels like DePalma, but it also rings hollow. While the first two acts work as a two-tier chase – Danish cops chasing CIA assset chasing Isis terrorist – but after we hit Spain, Eriq Ebouney (who gives the film best performance, the conviction on his face suggesting his own thing while everyone else is a puppet for De Palma’s schemes) disappears from most of it. There’s many large emotional holes that DePalma is working hard to cover not always with success and I’m not talking here about narrative. De Palma’s films often makes little logic sense, but they’ve always made an operatic emotional one and on those terms Domino is a mixed bag.

There’s a thrilling quality about watching De Palma negotiate the very low budget. Like late Welles it is a blast to see the magician exiled and operating with no means and still finding ways to arrive at new images (and make no mistake much of Domino feels refreshing new). There is a great terrorist attack midway through that staged as a You Tube video with production values to match, that is better than anything on the last Mission Impossible. That the attack happens at a film festival red carpet is both a self reference to Femme Fatale and an acid commentary about those events divorce from the world around it. All three main set pieces remind me that De Palma is one of the few American true masters left. At same time the film DTV cheapness is very noticeable. Production design is non-existent, every set personality free, the bullfight terrorist attack happens in an under populated stadium, the great cinematographer José Luis Alcalaine works hard to give the world a texture it might otherwise lack. Like much of European Welles, Domino is exciting art povera, the lack of resources are glaring in a conventional sense but also open avenues of meaning and feeling. A masterclass of making much out of nothing. Just witness the long close-up whose lens movement not only enforces the scene dramatic point, but exposes the entire investigative logic of the film images and the mix between cinema and policing it is based on.

Whenever Domino centers around the production and watching of images it is great De Palma. Chunks of it are just people watching video on computers, cell phones and on very rare occasions television (De Palma’s hasn’t lost his gift for Godardian annotations). Ebouney watching Guy Pearce’s CIA agent interrogating his son while clearly staging a show for his prisoner/new asset is as exciting as the major terrorist attacks (both of which are imagined as large pieces of media intervention, terrorism in a De Palma film is filmmaking even while cinema only exist here as raw materials for terrorism). Domino often doubles on itself a document about the production of images of power and horror and as a document on its own struggles at arriving at the same.

Is there another 79-year-old artist so excited to think about the new economy of images? Character’s notice the filmmaking merits of terrorists’ drone work. It is like Redacted You Tube videos have been even more expanded in the decade after. There aren’t many movies as attuned to how that new economy of images affect daily activities and how it mediates the transformation of life into product. As often in De Palma’s movies there´s something sinister and perverse about the production of images, the world just finds new horrible ways to arrive at them.

De Palma’s panopticon lingers. Capital and survillaince are inseparable. There’s a lot of observations about freedom of movement in contemporary Europe and how that plays against the sense of a large vigilance project. If Passion took place in an abstract late capitalist corporate hellhole, Domino wants to exist as part of an European union that made a deal with the devil. Government and terrorism as business partners to justify an imprisonment complex. Visual media serving the role of mediator for it. The visual traces it left behind the only commentary left. All the characters react to it with stupor, a new reality taken for granted. Policing is impossible without video, but so is terrorism. There’s no destruction if we can’t see it. A bitter victory of the symbolic in both spheres.

Pearce is having a lot of slimy fun in what might be described in De Palmian terms as the Gregg Henry part. There’s a large perversity in how this is a movie about an Isis guy (whose individual scenes are imagined as big a cliche as images of islamic terror gets) going through Europe producing terror events, while De Palma still stages all of Pearce scenes like he is the big Mabusian villain. His exit line “We are Americans, we read your mails” remains hanging over the final scene, half DTV absurdity, half serious, the same way the movie itself has that De Palmian angry grin. One never can know for sure if it is a serious investigation on police and image-making or an excuse for having fun with it. Knowing our master of ceremonies, it is probably both. That’s part of the reason even by this date, he still has as many hardcore fans as people ready to write him off as a past his prime huckster. If one wants to there’s a lot to see in those images, if you refuse, they are empty often cruel razzle dazzle. Asking if it works, misses the point. It hangs there, sustained like Coster-Waldau in the big Vertigo-inspired opener horrifying, callow, thrilling.


Posted by Geoff at 8:01 AM CST
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