YOUR HUMBLE NARRATOR AT DE PALMA A LA MOD HAS NOW SEEN DOMINO
Brian De Palma's Domino -- and let's get this straight, this is Brian De Palma's film -- when you see it all the way to the end, I'm not sure how you can come away from it with any other notion -- is full of tomatoes. They're all over the place in this movie, and you have to think that De Palma would have had Rotten Tomatoes in the back of his mind as he thought of and shot Domino. Well, dearly beloved, I'm here to tell you, Domino is certified fresh, one-hundred percent De Palma. From shot design (check out an early shot that begins wide, verrrry slowly moving in as two characters move about the room, until the shot finally ends, in God's eye point-of-view fashion, to focus in on an item that will have lasting impact on the film to come) to the way Pino Donaggio's music evokes the lasting sadness of that God's eye view, watching the way these events unfold. I was reminded not only of Donaggio's score for Blow Out, but also of the way the music works in contrast to much of what we see on screen in films such as Snake Eyes and The Black Dahlia. There is a silent film sequence in slow motion, full of tension, that truly gets you on the edge of your seat, wondering how in the world this is going to end up. The sequence has a kicker of a climax that has to be seen to be believed, beautifully executed. There are scenes where the camera slowly moves in toward stunning emotional impact (one of them is pictured above).
A couple of Letterboxd reviews have talked about Domino being a sort of Redacted meets Passion, and there is definitely a bit of truth to that. Passion opens with our two main characters watching commercials on a laptop, discussing and critiquing, yet we never see what they see. Later on, one of them makes a commercial, and we see the result afterward as it is screened for corporate executives. There is a lot of that sort of thing in Domino, except in the new movie, instead of commercials, the genre is terrorist videos, which brings us back to the world of Redacted. Our two main cops in the new film are seen watching terrorist videos on a laptop, commenting on how they're shot and edited, using drones, etc. We are not watching with them, but simply watching them as they watch, the look of horror on their faces. Later on, we see the videos being made, and then the way they've been edited.
I could write a lot more about Domino, but let me end for now by saying that Domino takes place in the future: an intertitle near the start of the film tells us the date is June 10, 2020. An intertitle near the beginning of De Palma's Mission To Mars carries the date June 9, 2020. If that's not De Palma's idea of a cosmic joke, it's a split in the horizon, for sure.