"DOMINO FORCES US TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT INSTEAD OF SIMPLY CONSUMING IT"
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."