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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A plot to be unravelled
So here's the thing, the first time I watched this film I came away feeling a little confused, a little happy and a little sad but ultimately feeling like I had just watched something special.

After watching Southland Tales multiple times I am staggered at how many ideas have gone into this film and actually link up to make it one of the most mind boggling and...
Published on 2 Sep 2008 by D. Whittington

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed, but beautiful, mess.
Whilst many of the reviews I'd seen for this film were resoundingly negative, I was a big fan of Donnie Darko and I noticed that many of the people who liked it referred to other artists I liked such as Philip.K. Dick and David Lynch when discussing this film. So I took a gamble and ordered it.

And indeed, the reviews here on Amazon are right. Yes, all of...
Published on 2 Aug 2008 by Mr. J. R. Burkes


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly unexpected brilliance, 26 Aug 2008
By 
Amazon Customer - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
Prior to buying it Id never heard anything about this film, and stumbled on it only becuase I got the "you bought this, so you might like THIS" link, therefore I had no preconception of it at all - in fact, I was particularly drawn in by some of the lacklustre reviews (Im automatically suspicious when ALL reviews for a product are 5 star!), which now make perfect sense as it seems to me to be a definite "Love it or Hate it" movie. I wont insult those who dismissed it or didnt like it by saying "they just didnt get it" - because theres not really a lot to get - its just quite literally your thing - or it isnt!

Personally, I was completely blown away by this movie and I get excited just talking to people about it; the acting - by pretty much all cast members - was really suprisingly sterling quality (very rare these days for such a large, and, relatively A-lister lacking cast to all be spot on to their roles with SUCH a degree of excellence). The plot is both wacky and off kilter, yet is utterly engrossing, and the visual aspect of it is sumptuous. I mean really, really beautiful to look at. And to top it off the soundtrack is completely fab too!

The essential outline of the story is that the future is here already, world war 3 has broken out and the US has split off into segregated states - one of which is Southland where the bulk of the movie takes place. The characters are interwoven around a story that tackles both a political issue of identity monitoring and "big brother" control, and the adoption of a new "clean" energy source, with the "donnie darko" element of - well I wont say as it will spoil the story - but theres a kind of fantasy (?!) element to it which is brought in and run through beautifully. Ultimately I found it actually quite a sad and heartbreaking story, though this couldve just been me getting so attached to the characters and falling deeply in love with all of them, that I wanted more for them than the film gave them!

Regarding the acting, I particularly want to mention that Sarah MG was... just exquisite!
Her role as Krysta Now: a vaccuous, trashy, self important porn-star believing she is "topical" and a socio-political cultural icon and role model, is played awesomely (possibly a little too accurately to some of the regulars in Heat magazine!); but behind the trash shes such a sweet, damaged and fragile creature that you just want to save and protect, and she does it SO well and so subtly, that it seems the role MUST have been sculpted specifically for her.
Without exaggeration Id say she OWNS the film, and Im not particularly a great fan of her films generally!

And on the topic of the acting, another - I think - really nice point is that the vast majority of the cast is made up of known actors usually found in lesser roles or teen-flick efforts; and comics of varying caliber, yet nobody trys to upstage each other, or "do their act", and it shows in the quality of the ensemble of characters - each in their own way a lead role. The one exception is - unfortunately - Mandy Moore, who is just awful in this film! Fortunately her excruciatingly wooden "acting" is limited to only a handful or mercifully short scenes, and bless her its not that shes trying to hard - she just really cannot act!

I wont shout "BUY IT BUY IT NOW!", because I really dont think this will be to everyones tastes, and to be honest I wouldnt have ended it the way it was ended (I notice some loved the ending, but I think this will be the BIG deciding point for most)
However, if like me you enjoy off the wall, slightly strange and unique movies, deep and beautifully crafted characters, and dont expect a level of intensity that was Donnie Darko, you'd do well to try this one out - and at this price it would definitely be worth taking a look anyway!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experimental Wizardry, 30 Aug 2010
This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
With the approaching elections of 2008, Richard Kelly chose to produce a 'high art' and controversial movie, which is one of the craziest and most complex works in the history of cinema.

Southland Tales is supported by one of the oddest casting choices ever made by a 'serious' director. Though it may appear from the cover and first impression of this film, it is not an average comedy made by idiots for idiots.

The film takes a look into an alternate future, when the world, under the energy crisis is attempting to solve its problems using 'fluid Karma' a natural energy source that is pinned to revolutionize the future. With a strict government in place, the project known as 'USIdent' watches the citizens of the Southland, in their attempt to continue living a 'normal' life, though it is a harder struggle than you would presume.

Southland Tales is what can be best described as an 'experience' or perhaps an 'experiment', in what you, as a film viewer see, through the eyes of one of the most important writer/directors of his generation.

Open your mind and breath in the visual masterpiece that is 'Southland Tales'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Southland Tales, 7 Jun 2010
By 
Mr. A. Jones - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
If you plan to watch/buy this movie, please make sure you buy the extended or directors cut version otherwise, like me, you will be completly dumbfounded as to what is going on. even with the extended version, you may have to watch it a few times before you fully understand the story.

The film is set after a nuclear attack on America and how, due to terrorism, America has become a fascist, police state where everything is monitored (like big brother/1984)

the story revolves around the southland and a new structure 'utopia 3' that uses the ocean to generate an energy field, like a pulse (called fluid Karma) that will power everything remotely and is in abundance. however, unknown to most of the characters of movie, the tidal generator has slowled the earths rotation by a fraction of a degree and certain anomilies have occured; such as crime sky-rocketing and a rift in time.

the film has an all-star studded cast and everyone plays their parts superbly. there are alot of sub-plots, alot of characters but they all tie into the main plot of the story.

There's alot of comedy in the film, it's dark and most is overshadowed by the confusing plot...tip, don't miss a second of the movie, it's one you have watch all they way through to the end.

There are a few references to Philip.k.Dick in the movie who was a brilliant sci-fi writer from the 50's - 80's and alot of the film is almost a hybrid of his novels. 'flow my tears, the policeman said' is an example.

In all I loved it, having watched it ten times to understand it, I can now truley appreciate the film and how the characters of the movie are just as clueless as to whats happening as the audience watching it.

I recommend this for a sci-fi fan or movie buff...but if your looking for something to watch on a one-off on some wet sunday night, dont bother! you'll only get confused, frustrated and end up hating a really brilliant film.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Film equivalent of prog rock, 11 July 2009
By 
N. Carley "Neil" (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
This is the twisted savant love child of an unholy orgy between Phil K Dick, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, Robert Anton Wilson etc.
Bizarre characters populate an utterly incomprehensible tale of the end of the world, time travel, civil rights, porn stars and the book of revelations in a film packed so full of ideas that you will be exhausted by the time the end credits roll.
If any movie needs watching twice, or thrice, or.. then this is it. The premises raised here circle round your mind for days afterward.
There is absolutely no chance of sitting on the fence, you will love it like an ugly child that everyone else crosses the street to avoid... or else you probably will never get past the first half hour.
Long, confusing, staffed by pop-actors, flawed, brain ache film-making at it's best.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid follow-up to Donnie Darko, 2 Dec 2008
By 
Kate Gardner (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
This is an amazing film, even if it does require a fair bit of reading around it to fully understand. There are some very funny moments, though not necessarily from the long line of Saturday Night Live comedians involved. And is Sarah Michelle Gellar the whore of Babylon or is it Bai Ling? Both do some fairly ridiculous slut acting, which is not a criticism as it's exactly what's required of them.

Anyone who struggles to understand the basic plot need only look to Richard Kelly's previous film, Donnie Darko, for answers. The broad theme is exactly the same: a rift in space-time creates an alternate, largely negative reality, a reality that needs to be destroyed before "real" reality is destroyed instead. Make sense now? Then it's time to sit back and enjoy the satire.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't judge it till you've seen it., 27 Feb 2008
By 
James Grant (brighton, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
this is a very complex film, it is also very long, which is why dvd is the best way to see it. no one can tell you if you are going to like it or not you will just have to see it yourself.
I will say I liked this film alot and will be buying it when it comes out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Too intelligent for mainstream, 25 Jun 2014
Totally one of my favourite films ever... Just like Donnie a Darko some movies aren't meant to be understood but just simply experienced. Open your mind and relax into it, you may surprise yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem!, 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
I was surprised when I watched this film, I thought it would be awful with all of the comments saying that it was 'unwatchable' and 'awful'. Don't go by the reviews of this film, view it yourself and come to your own conclusions on whether you liked it or not.

This film could be confusing for some, so I wouldn't recommend this if you're usually used to watching straight-forward films. If you're into films that are a bit different and out there then this could be for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably would have made a better TV serial, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
For those of you that don't know, `Southland Tales' is the second film from (Donnie Darko-acclaimed) writer/director Richard Kelly. After the success of Darko, he was given a much bigger budget to play with for his next feature and the stars queued up to be in it. How could it possibly fail?

It did.

And I was quite saddened by the reaction from viewers and critics alike (because I really loved it!). Yes, if you're thinking of watching Southland Tales, know that most people absolutely loathed it. They described it as unwatchable, too complicated and not making any sense.

And they're probably right. But I still love it anyway. For a start, it's set in the same `Darko' universe and, like its predecessor, is a mixture of genres. Ultimately, it's an `end-of-the-world' film, but it encompasses comedy, romance, action, musical, thriller, science fiction and even political satire on the constant `war' on terrorism.

It has numerous characters, all of which are playing their part in the overall story. However, this is where the `haters' start to build their argument. There are so many characters that none of them (bar Dwayne Johnson possibly) are really afforded the screen time they deserve. Hence we never really know an awful lot about them and then suddenly they're killed off and we're left none the wiser to what they were really about.

Then you have the narration. There's an old saying in the writing world: `Show, don't tell.' Here, Southland Tales simply tells half of the important plot points through a narrator and various fictional shots from the internet. Again, this does give off the feeling of being a bit rushed.

But, if you can get over the many minus points, you'll find that Southland Tales is actually quite a novel story, told in a very slick and stylish way. Some of the scenes are almost visually hypnotic and the soundtrack (courtesy of Moby) certainly adds to the mood.

If you've seen Donnie Darko, you may know what to expect. Don't think you're going to get any quick answers to what's going on. You may find you're looking up answers on the internet as to what Southland Tales is all about. That prospect may not appeal to everyone, so, if you're one of them, don't bother watching this. However, I'll just sit back and enjoy the experience. I don't claim to understand everything and I'll never say it's a perfect film. However, I found it perfect for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One Edit Away From Perfection, 5 July 2013
This review is from: Southland Tales [DVD] (DVD)
An extraordinary, complex film that is just one edit away from perfection. If only the director would have another go - it's almost there.

God knows, it is not an easy ride, and there is some notable miscasting and few misfires, but there are so many good ideas, and so many brilliant shots that it is worth the effort.
Some people will hate it, others will love it. There is no in-between.

But ultimately it seems to be to be a TV mini series squeezed into a format where it does not belong, and the narrative flow suffers in the process (all becomes somewhat clearer during a second viewing).

How about an extended cut Mr Kelly?
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Southland Tales [DVD]
Southland Tales [DVD] by Richard Kelly (DVD - 2008)
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