1. Stella Papamichael, “Getting Direct with Directors No. 33: Tony Scott,”
[return to page 1 of essay]

2. Tony Scott commentary, Domino DVD.

3. Kim Morgan, “It’s Deja Vu for Tony Scott,”

4. Morgan, “It’s Deja Vu for Tony Scott.”

5. Justin Wyatt, High Concept: Movies and Marketing in Hollywood. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994, page 28. See pages 23-64 for Wyatt’s overview of high-concept aesthetics. On page 60 Wyatt notes:

“In place of the identification with narrative, the viewer becomes sewn into the surface of the film, contemplating the style of the narrative and the production. The excess created through such channels as the production design, stars, music, and promotional apparati, all of which are so important to high concept, enhances this appreciation of the films’ surface qualities.”

6. This comes to a high point with Enemy of the State, when Gene Hackman reanimates Harry Caul from The Conversation (1974) to keep Will Smith away from the clutches of Jon Voight.

7. Scott credits his work on the BMW Web series The Hire: Beat the Devil (2002) for inspiring the innovations of Man on Fire and Domino. Link to video:

8. Morgan, “It’s Deja Vu for Tony Scott.”

9. Scott’s first film The Hunger features some intriguing flashbacks and crosscutting, but overt violations of narrative order and duration do not recur until Spy Game.

10. Levy, Emanuel, “Tony Scott on Domino,”

11. Warren Buckland. Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster. New York: Continuum, 2006, page 37. Buckland’s description is a summary of V.F. Perkins’ model of productive tension outlined in Film as Film (1972). Buckland himself assumes an “intensity of cohesion between realism and expressionism” at work in Steven Spielberg’s cinema. [return to page 2]

12. See Wyatt, High Concept, pages 190-202.

13. Wheeler Winston Dixon, “Twenty-Five Reasons Why It’s All Over” in Jon Lewis, ed. The End of Cinema as We Know It: American Film in the Nineties. New York: New York University Press, 2001, page 365. Wheeler titles this analect,

“We no longer believe in the images we see on the screen, if we ever did; now their syntheticity is a demonstrated fact.”

14. See André Bazin, “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema,” in What is Cinema Volume 1, edited by Hugh Gray. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967, pages 23-40.

15. Kristin Thompson, “The Concept of Cinematic Excess” in Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, eds. Film Theory and Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, page 515.

16. Thompson, page 523.

17. Thomas Elsaesser, “Specularity and Engulfment: Francis Ford Coppola and Bram Stoker’s Dracula” in Steve Neale and Murray Smith, eds. Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. New York: Routledge, 1998, page 201.

18. Elsaesser, page 197.

19. Oliver Stone’s use of mixed modes and montage in Natural Born Killers was a conscious attempt to mix vertical and horizontal modes, mixing inner and outer moments of consciousness, an attempt at a schizophrenic realism, an approximation of channel surfing as a “hall of mirrors” to expose Americans as the ultimate passive spectator.

20. David Bordwell, The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006, page 14. Adds Bordwell:

“The norms of any tradition are regulative principles, not laws. The classical system is less like the Ten Commandments and more like a restaurant menu.”

21. Bordwell, page 73.

22. See Bordwell, The Way Hollywood Tells It, pages 121-38.

23. Otherwise know as the “American shot”—a medium long shot or three-quarters shot (from knees to head) commonly used in Classical Hollywood Cinema. André Bazin had this shot in mind when rhapsodizing about the narrative and ontological use of space in U.S. cinema.

24. Bordwell, page 172. Adds Bordwell on page 180:

“The new technical devices, encouraging heavy stylization and self-conscious virtuosity, have changed our experience of following the story. Most obviously, the style aims to generate a keen moment-by-moment anticipation. Techniques that 1940s directors reserved for moments of shock and suspense are the stuff of normal scenes today…even ordinary scenes are heightened to compel attention and to sharpen emotional resonance.”

25. Bordwell, page 123.

26. Bordwell, page 82.

27. See Bordwell, pages 23-24.

28. Bordwell, page 188.

29. Thomas Elsaesser and Warren Buckland. Studying Contemporary American Cinema: A Guide to Movie Analysis. London: Arnold, 2002, pages 26-79. Raymond Bellour’s investigations into symbolic blockage can be found in “System of a Fragment,” “The Obvious and the Code,” and “Symbolic Blockage,” all featured in The Analysis of Film. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000.

30. Buckland and Elsaesser, page 78.

31. Buckland and Elsaesser, pages 73-76.

32. Buckland and Elsaesser, page 76.

33. Buckland and Elsaesser, page 35.

34. Ed claims to have known Frank Sinatra after glancing at The Manchurian Candidate in Edna’s trailer. Edna dismisses Ed, claiming everyone knew Sinatra. Later in the film Domino’s mother Sophie also lays claim to knowing Sinatra, a layered inside joke, given that Jacqueline Bisset co-starred with Sinatra in The Detective (1968).[return to page 3]

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