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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Tony Scott|
scr Richard Kelly
with Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Delroy Lindo, Lucy Liu, Christopher Walken, Mo'Nique, Rizwan Abbasi, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, Mena Suvari, Jacqueline Bisset, Dabney Coleman, Macy Gray, Tom Waits, Jerry Springer
release US/UK 14.Oct.05
05/US New Line 2h08
I am a bounty hunter: Knightley (above), Ramirez and Rourke (below).
With a brilliantly askew script and outrageously lively visuals, this is far more than just a biopic about a celebrity child turned model turned bounty hunter. It's a challenging, complicated and hilarious heist thriller as well.
Domino Harvey (Knightley), daughter of Lawrence, rejects the pampered life offered by her socialite mother (Bisset) and finds an early passion for aggression, which she channels with gusto into her new bounty hunter career with sidekicks Ed and Choco (Rourke and Ramirez). But their last job has gone bizarrely wrong, and as she tells the twisted tale to a cop (Liu), we meet everyone from a bondsman (Lindo) and his fake-ID peddling girlfriend (Mo'Nique) to over-their-head 90210 actors (Green and Ziering) and hyperactive reality TV producers (Walken and Suvari).
This is a loud, raucous movie that continually pulls the rug out from under us, introducing countless characters and only barely explaining how everything fits together. But alert viewers will thoroughly enjoy every minute of it, mostly because the puzzle-like plot runs alongside Domino's personal journey--but it's not like any self-discovery movie you've ever seen.
Kelly's bracingly smart script is the key, not surprising to fans of his enigmatically brilliant Donnie Darko. Sharp dialog mixes with gut-wrenching humour and sparky characterisations. Knightley again proves, just as surprisingly, that she can carry a film and develop a strong character. Rourke continues to rediscover his raw talent. Ramirez is a welcome new heartthrob. Walken's tics and quirks are simply hysterical. And the endless stream of side roles and cameos is great fun, if you work to keep track of everyone.
Scott directs with almost too much style, varying film stocks, soaking and then bleaching the colour, drifting into fantasies and gritty reality and delaying the revelation of what's what. It's also jarringly out of synch, but it does hold water if you stick with it. And the constant, driving narrative never lets us go, right up to the remarkable climax. It's like an exhilarating theme park ride you want to take all over again, just to catch what you missed the first time. Funny, scary, emotional, exciting--an amazing story.
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© 2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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