Blu-ray: Domino (2019)

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Brian De Palma | CAST: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Soren Malling, Eriq Ebouaney, Guy Pearce, Carice van Houten, Paprika Steen
RELEASE DATE: July 30, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $13.99, Blu-ray $15.99
SPECS: R | 89 min. | Crime thriller | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  ½  | Audio | Video | Overall  ½

The latest effort from filmmaker Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill, Blow OutScarface) feels more like it’s escaping from somewhere than actually being released. With a paltry running time of less than 90 minutes, only a few theatrical playdates following a purported few years gathering dust on the shelf and zilch promotional input from its stars or director (who has badmouthed his producers on the record), Domino appeared toxic even before its limited American rollout.

Shot and set in Denmark, Domino features Games of Thrones‘s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a Christian, a Copenhagen cop teamed with senior partner Lars (Soren Malling, A Royal Affair).  One night, while on what seems like a routine domestic violence call, the two encounter a murder committed by an imposing Libyan man (Eriq Ebouaney, The Horde) who nearly kills Lars, then escapes. But the perpetrator is mysteriously whisked away by CIA operatives headed by Martin (Guy Pearce, Results) and forced into a special mission in which he must murder an Isis terrorist. Meanwhile, Christian joins forces with another cop (Carice von Houten, Incarnate) to track down the Libyan.

On paper, Domino seems like it could work as an effective thriller related to duress coming from America’s daily involvement in the Middle East situation. But the clunky nature of the film and gaps in logic quickly get in the way of its effectiveness. Instead, most of the film feels like filler bridging a few intriguingly elaborate set pieces staged in classic De Palma style. A hyper-cinematic rooftop pursuit a la Vertigo and an intense altercation atop a stadium during a bullfight are the main attractions here, and both are intensely enjoyable. But within the context of Domino’s choppy structure, they play like DePalma saluting himself. (Set in the future for some reason, Domino is most reminiscent of the filmmaker’s Passion, an erotic thriller that received a similarly bare bones release in 2012).

That said, there are marketable elements here: DePalma’s name will always draw film fans attention no matter what the film is, as people remember his glory days. And with Game of Thrones recently bidding goodbye, Coster-Waldau and van Houten, two of the show’s regulars, can also draw attention to the title.

Buy or Rent Domino (2019)

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.