Sunday, April 16, 2017

Domino (Ivana Massetti, 1988)

I'm no math whizz, but I'd say 99% of the movies I watch are devoid of anything of value. What I mean is, they contain things I'm not interested. Of course, if the people who make these movies had the slightest interest in the things I'm interested in, I wouldn't have to start every other review in this manner. But this is the universe we live in. One where the majority of films released on any given day are severely lacking in the appealing to me department. However, it's not all bad. In fact, there's this movie I might review one day that actually features a ton of stuff I'm into. You know what? Screw one day, I'm reviewing this film right this minute. It's called Domino and... OH MY GOD, it's so fucking... appealing. Seriously, I just sat there in awe of the sheer amount of Euro-approved stylishness being shoved in my face at any given moment... it was glorious. Synths, black PVC skirts, gloves in almost every scene, wigs, neon, compact discs, indoor wind chimes, mannequins, phone sex, white lace body stockings, delivery boys who accept smiles from leggy dames in lieu of money, and...  well, I could keep listing shit for hours. Granted, the plot is kinda stupid and some of acting is a tad on the suspect side, but.... then again, who cares about non-stupid plots and quality acting in a movie where Brigitte Nielsen talks to her jewel-adorned pet turtle? That's right, Brigitte Nielsen has deep, meaningful conversations with a bejeweled turtle.

And she has a live-in mannequin. Which she also talks to. Let me put it this way: Imagine if Stephen Sayadian had directed Obsession: A Taste for Fear. Well, if he had, it would look something like this. I know, that's sounds pretty awesome. Any film that can invoke the name Stephen Sayadian, a.k.a. Rinse Dream, has to be doing something right.

Even though I was down with director Ivana Massetti's Rinse Dream-esque aesthetic right from the get-go. The moment I heard the sci-fi-ish swooshing noise the door to Brigitte Nielsen's apartment makes when it opens and closes was the exact moment I declared this film to be a straight-up masterpiece.

Again, and I can't stress this enough, the film is chock-full of nonsensical gobbledygook. Yeah, the movie I'm currently praising is a total mess when it comes to the basic tenets of cinematic storytelling. And the acting is atrocious in places. But holy crap, does it look good.

It also helped that the film doesn't seem to take place in any realm I'm familiar with. And if anyone has read any of my other reviews, you'll know I'm a big fan of films that seem to take place within there own universe. Sure, the words they utter and the objects they manipulate are recognizable, but there's just something off about this world.

And from where I was sitting, Brigitte Nielsen's Domino seems to be at the centre of this world/universe. Meaning, the world seems to revolve around her. And why wouldn't it? She has a killer wardrobe, a seemingly endless cadre of suitors, a swanky apartment (did I mention that the doors make a sci-fi-ish swooshing noise when opened and closed?), and she owns a plethora of wigs.

Desperate to get funding to make a video about Billie Holiday, an artist named Domino is harassed by a mysterious stranger who insists on calling her on her cordless telephone. She's also being spied on by someone who lives in the building across the street.

Despite the fact that she seems content to be alone with her live-in mannequin (and her bejeweled pet turtle), Domino must contend with multiple violations of her privacy.

And, yeah, that kind of sums up the plot. Like I said, she has many suitors (all douchebags from I what I could see).

Oh, and from I could gather, it would seem that poor air quality is causing Domino's arm to itch. I think this was the film's subtle way of reminding the audience that things in this world are not as rosy as they seem. And, if you listen closely, every time Brigitte is outside, you can hear helicopters flying overhead. I took this to mean that Domino is living in a surveillance state.

While it might not come right out and say it, anyone with a half a brain can figure out on their own that this film is about isolation. Putting a number of different barriers between her and the outside world, Domino is desperate to find love, yet she craves the comfort that only a solitary existence can bring.

When it becomes increasingly clear that the people harassing her might not be real, Domino begins to lose her grip on reality.

Personally, I don't know why Domino didn't pursue a relationship with Geretta Geretta's Gabriele, a self-proclaimed whore who works at a strip-club called Eye. I guess Domino found Gabriele's lifestyle too overwhelming; in a classic scene, Domino ceases to masturbate to Gabrielle's striptease show and runs from the booth (complete with a toilet roll for easy clean-up) in a stylish huff.

Which, should go without saying, as everything Domino does is stylish.

Frankly, I have no idea how I managed to make through this film in one piece. As it seems to go out of its way to be cartoonishly chic. At times I thought I was watching a parody of the 1980s by some hipster comedy troupe who possess only half-remembered fragments of what the 1980s were really like. But I wasn't. No, Domino is a real movie, made during the 1980s. Cherish the movie and treat it with the respect it deserves. Of course, many of you will still mock and deride it using whatever passes for sarcasm nowadays. But you can't deny that it earns its place in the pantheon of mildly ill-conceived movies that end up being more amazing than anyone involved in its creation could possibly comprehend.

In fact, I would place Domino alongside the likes of Liquid Dreams, Shredder Orpheus, Skinner, the aforementioned Obsession: A Taste of Fear (this and Domino would make a sweet ass double-bill), and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, Dr. Caligari.

Oh, and you'll notice I didn't once complain about Brigitte Nielsen's breast implants. Well, that's because I don't do that anymore. If a woman wants breast implants, who am I to deny her the right to do so? After all, it's her body, not mine. I am, however, against breast implants, or any other cosmetic surgery for that matter, if the woman is forced to do so by someone other than herself.

Special thanks to Silk Stalkings Stills for recommending this movie.