Set in an America where there are gangs and people dressed in white sheets running around—just like the USA now, am I right?—The Domestics is a post-apocalyptic road movie that follows two people who are going across the country. They’re married, technically, although they were on the brink of a divorce before the government tried to kill everyone. I don’t know what the odds are that both of them would be immune to the poison dropped on the populace, but they’d got to be pretty low.
The two leads are Mark and Nina (Tyler Hoechlin and Kate Bosworth), and they’re going to Nina’s parents’ place in Milwaukee, even though her parents are likely dead. They used to talk over a CB radio, but haven’t had contact in several weeks. Also, the journey will be dangerous, since there are gangs and all sorts of unsavory people running around. Is it worth it? Mark doesn’t think so, but also believes it’s the only way to salvage his marriage. Nina doesn’t get enough of a character for us to know what she’s thinking beyond wanting to see her parents. Good enough, I guess, movie.
The Domestics goes from stop to stop and shows us two things: (1) people are bad and (2) Mark is a great guy and Nina should love him again. Some of the encounters they have are kind of neat, like when they meet a seemingly normal family, but most of them are bog-standard post-apocalyptia stuff. There are a few action scenes that are messes of editing and cinematography, and they’re not very entertaining as a result. The final 30 minutes is kinda of bonkers, though, and if it had that sort of energy throughout, it might be worthwhile.
The film wants you to care about Mark and Nina’s relationship but there isn’t much to it. The developments aren’t organic, they flip-flop depending on what the scene requires—are they friendly or not to one another depends on whether or not the scene wants, not anything else like previous actions—and since Nina is such a nothing character, it’s hard to become invested in them as a couple.
If The Domestics succeeds in one aspect it’s making a movie that paints people in a terrible light. Even in most post-apocalyptic movies, there is usually a significant portion of the population that isn’t horrendous. In this one, it’s all Mark. One could relate the event that caused the apocalypse to the rapture. That’s probably reading too much into it, but it sure would have made for an interesting development. That type of wild speculation is more engaging than anything that the movie has to offer, anyway.
The Domestics is a generic post-apocalyptic movie that sees nothing characters try to travel from Point A to Point B without dying, all the while running into people who want to kill them. Most of its scenarios have been ripped from other, better movies, and while it tries to invest us in its protagonists and their relationship, it fails to do much of anything in that regard. Its action isn’t very good, it’s not very thrilling, and while a couple of the stops are moderately entertaining and the acting is good, the movie on the whole isn’t worth the time it takes to watch it.
Conclusion: The Domestics is another generic post-apocalyptic movie that’s almost saved by its final half hour and solid acting.
Recommendation: If you love post-apocalyptia, The Domestics might be worth your time. But for most, even that won’t be enough to make it enjoyable.