Domino (Brian De Palma, 2019, Denmark/France/Belgium/Italy/Netherlands/United States/United Kingdom)

As of 2025, Domino is Brian De Palma's last feature film. It marks an entry into the European stage of De Palma's career when the director finally abandoned Hollywood in the early 2000s. Cobbled together with a mix of international pre-sales and soft money from the various countries in which the film was shot (primarily Denmark), Domino even on paper feels a bit assembled from various moving parts that don't necessarily come together to a cohesive whole. This sense is further exacerbated by the fact that the US distributor, Saban Films, released the film in a 90-minute cut that De Palma claims doesn't reflect his vision for the film. From their perspective, as the strongest player in the American direct-to-VOD action space, this likely made sense - the fans of generic action films in the US do not want to sit through a meandering auteur film. Even at 90 minutes, Domino can feel quite meandering.

While Domino is quite clearly a mess, the film nevertheless has great flashes of De Palma's brilliance. One can particularly see this during the film's opening set piece when our protagonist Christian Toft (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, underwhelming as a lead here) pursues a killer on foot. This display of brilliance is also evident in the film's final set piece involving a foiled suicide bombing at a bullfighting arena in Spain. It is here that De Palma makes the most of the film's limited budget, and we are treated to flashes of the director's glory days. Unfortunately, much of the film is bogged down in procedural aspects, particularly involving a CIA agent played by Guy Pearce (also quite underwhelming here). The politics of the film are muddled, and it is not clear how connected De Palma is to the script of the film. Domino is a worthwhile viewing for De Palma completists.



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