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Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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De Palma a la Mod

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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.

Posted by Geoff at 8:04 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:46 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (23) | Permalink | Share This Post

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 12:35 PM CDT

Name: "Brett"

Yours is one of the very few opinions that matter to me. I couldn't be more thrilled to read this post (and want you to write more!) and I am now doubly excited to see this movie. 

I am curious- did you feel the film came together well? Some of those early reviews had their misgivings about that. From the gist of what you posted, it sure seems like Domino suceeds from start to finish.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 1:18 PM CDT

Name: "Lear"

Yaaaaay!! So happy to hear you liked it!

I'm personally still annoyed with the cinematography (and after watching the trailer for Almodovar's new film, I blame Jose Luis Alcaine) and the very low budget aspect of the film. I'm sure I'll still enjoy a lot of scenes in it though. 

 Now the next step seems like Said Ben Said's Predator, who's the greatest French patron of "fallen" Hollywood directors (in the sense that he always finds financing and respects the directors' visions). His budgets often revolve around $10M, but can go as high as $25M, which would better fit de Palma's ambition I guess. Let's wait and see!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 4:43 PM CDT

Name: "Arni"

I just know that this is going to be so much fun!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 10:45 PM CDT

Name: "Keith Uhlich"
Home Page: http://https://www.keithuhlich.com/

Are we resurrecting the De Palma forum on here? I can only hope (and I presume the "Brett" above is who I think it is). And hi again, Geoff! Long time.

Also…DOMINO. Good movie. I hope to write about it at length some time soon. Laughing

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 11:17 PM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

Hi Brett-- by come together.... well, we all know there were money issues during filming. We can guess that there were scenes or things originally meant to be filmed that maybe they didn't have the money or time (time to film after waiting for the money to come in) to get in the can, so to speak.

So with that in mind, one can certainly see how this movie could be extended. There is gravitas that seems to reach for the depths of, say, Carlito's Way or even Snake Eyes. And those moments are there, in the film. Could there have been more scenes that might allow the viewer to delve deeper into the characters? Sure, there could have been. 

But, 1) Any other such scenes, had they existed on the page or elsewhere,  were likely not shot, and 2) to answer your question, yes, it comes together as a complete film from start to finish.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 11:23 PM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

Hi Keith-- yes :) I had also presumed this is the Brett we know. A forum resurrection -- what a wonderful idea. I'd love to read what you have to write about DOMINO, when the time comes.

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 3:29 AM CDT

Name: "Peet Gelderblom"
Home Page: http://www.directorama.net

Did someone say “De Palma Forum”? Hi guys! Aaah, so good to hear that at least two trusty old members have liked what they saw! It must be good, then.

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 4:53 AM CDT

Name: "Anthony"

...wonderful to hear.  've been doing a countdown for over a year now till Domino would see the (projection) light.  Personally i LOVE Redacted AND Passion. On top of that a Donaggio score. And partly filmed in Belgium -  includ. a location right across from my old school!!!   ....

and....euh, from the bullring location in Almeria, any chance of De Palma doing his take on Hitchcock's Man Who Knew too Much finale?  Cause that should seriously kick ass. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 7:32 AM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

Heyyy, Peet! Yes, the forum is coming along nicely here :D I hope they play DOMINO in theaters there in the Netherlands very soon after the U.S. release.

Anthony, if you love REDACTED and PASSION, you will definitely like DOMINO. I would not say that DOMINO has De Palma's take on The Man Who Knew Too Much, but the bullring sequence is a pure cinema, slow motion gem scored magnificently by Donaggio. It's on par with the superb nightmare sequence that closes PASSION.

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 7:40 AM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

Lear, I did not have any issues with the look of DOMINO-- at least a couple of shots looked quite stunning to me, but I'm not sure how often Alcaine has shot on digital prior to this.

I do hope Predator gets made... we shall see. If it is going forward, we might see them courting financing at Cannes later this month.


Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 10:31 AM CDT

Name: "Brett"

Yes, indeed. I'm the Brett of the De Palma forum of yesteryear. Hello Geoff, Keith, Peet and others! I'm thrilled that people I know and trust have reacted well to Domino. I'm definitely counting down the days until I see it. Until then I would love to read Keith's Domino review when that is ready for public consumption (did you review Passion or Redacted? I'd love to read those, too). I remember his excellent take on The Black Dahlia well. I actually rewatched that movie very recently and am a huge fan. It's stunning to me how poorly people react to that movie. It's stuffed with so many great scenes, performances, etc. Alas...


Anwyay, looking forward to discussing Domino in depth with all you fine people! 

Friday, May 3, 2019 - 1:36 AM CDT

Name: "Mustafa"

Wow!!!!!!! Just what I expect to see from The Cinematic God! But for De Palma's sake, where did u watch it???!!!

Friday, May 3, 2019 - 6:59 AM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

Screener from the studio (Saban).

Friday, May 3, 2019 - 7:49 AM CDT

Name: "rado"
Home Page: http://rado.bg

Sounds promising, thanks. Is it suitable for fans who disliked Passion?

Friday, May 3, 2019 - 8:18 AM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

Suitable? It's a De Palma movie-- De Palma fans won't want to miss it.

Saturday, May 4, 2019 - 12:57 AM CDT

Name: "Andy"

Hi Geoff. Great news! Now the release approaches, I still wonder what's my best shot at seeing it in a cinema (in in the UK).

Saturday, May 4, 2019 - 10:39 PM CDT

Name: "Harry Georgatos"

PASSION is the type of film that grew on me with repeated viewings.

It's seems like De Palma is paying slick homage to his technique.

Every shot in the film is there for a reason. By the end everything falls into place. The production design, the brilliant colour coding and the smoothest cinematography has the actors sliding off the screen.

People who want detailed character exposition and heavy prolonged dialogue explanations should look elsewhere. De Palma has always been about the image as explanation and PASSION is that type of film. And I expect DOMINO will be no different!

Sunday, May 5, 2019 - 3:36 PM CDT

Name: "Mustafa"

Hi Goeff, for those of us who will not have the ability to see Domino in cinema, as I suspect that it will not get a wide release! How can we purchase it/watch it online please? Did Saban give you any information? As I want to support the movie.

Sunday, May 5, 2019 - 6:13 PM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blog

No specific info has been released yet, Mustafa, but it will be on demand come May 31st, so check your regular outlets at the end of May.

Sunday, May 5, 2019 - 9:39 PM CDT

Name: "what could have been"

want to see De Palma dust his old script from 1998 in Ambrose Chapel! It had a great cast that never happened. One of the great missed oportunities that never happened. A great mesmerising genre.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 3:33 AM CDT

Name: "Anthony"

Thank you for the Donaggio score link.......

couldn't help myself.......had to listen first thing of course.

would have liked a Donaggio score for the unmade Toyer script/film.   There had been some info a sequence was planned for a Venice carnival?  Just imagine what that would have been like...... 

Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 2:55 AM CDT

Name: "Danny"

Thank you so much for this review. I am now 100% pumped for this.

Monday, June 24, 2019 - 1:05 PM CDT

Name: "Jeremy Foley (OConnell)"

Another De Palma forum member checking in -- those were the days!

 Finally saw the film via an online link. Not quite the same as the cinema but I'll take it. 

 I thoroughly enjoyed Domino. It's exactly the type of set piece filled thriller I want to see De Palma round out his career with. It's filled with visual flourishes a la De Palma's prime & is his best film since Femme Fatale imo.

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