Southland Tales [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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Richard (Donnie Darko) Kelly directs this fast-moving ensemble piece set in a futuristic Los Angeles suffering economic and environmental meltdown. It's the fourth of July 2008, three years after a nuclear strike has wiped out a large part of Texas. The federal government, having assumed control of most people's lives in the interim, moves to stop the introduction of a seawater-based energy solution, under pressure from big business. Meanwhile, the government has also got its hands full with a Marxist underground movement intent on revolution, operating on the west coast. The various plotlines revolve around three central characters: Santaros (Dwayne Johnson), an action movie boxing star, suffering from amnesia, who's trying to get a new project off the ground; Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a porn star trying to break into TV punditry with her views on everything from teenage sex to west-coast culture, and Roland Taverner (Seann William Scott), an LA cop, who is searching for his, literally, split personality.
Well, filmmakers should aim high, they say. And Richard Kelly shot the moon on his highly-anticipated follow-up to cult sensation Donnie Darko, which expands the apocalyptic mood of that movie and blows it up tenfold. Set during the election season of 2008, Southland Tales proposes a series of apparently linked events: the reappearance of a vanished movie star (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), now an amnesiac; the bizarre doubling of a policeman (Seann William Scott in two roles); the development of an energy source from ocean waves; and the presence of an Iraq War veteran (Justin Timberlake) who seems to be watching everything, and narrating some of it. Not that the narration helps; even with voice-over (reportedly added after the film's disastrous debut at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival), Southland Tales doesn't come close to making sense, let alone at the minimum level of dangling a carrot to lead the audience along (even Mulholland Drive had a semblance of murder mystery to be solved, or not). The cast is loaded with Saturday Night Live cut-ups, but only Jon Lovitz connects, and in other roles people like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christopher Lambert, Bai Ling, and John Larroquette are utterly mystifying, by no fault of their own. In some of the musical sequences Kelly gets in stride, but it's easy to create drama in a three-minute music video, and harder to do over two and a half hours. Some top critics rushed to champion the movie, as though flying in the face of philistinism, so feel free to try out this incoherent pastiche for yourself. --Robert Horton --This text refers to the DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The film opens with a cheerful barbecue in Abilene, Texas. Shot on home video camera by a kid the timer informs us that it is the 4th of July 2005. That camera takes us through a happy american independance day party. Fireworks crackle, children laugh and play and adults chat eagerly. Suddenly the festivities are shattered by a massive nuclear mushroom cloud tearing out of the horizon as the people look on in horror. An animated slideshow called the "Doomsday Scenario Interface" then appears. We learn that the nuclear atttack we witnessed was one of two, the other in El Paso. The interface slides through dates as a solem voiced man describes americas descent into war and paranoia.Read more ›
And indeed, the reviews here on Amazon are right. Yes, all of them. This isn't just a Marmite movie, which people either love or hate, it's a movie that has so many strengths and weaknesses that it's possible to have any, and all, opinions about it simultaneously.
The cast have received unfair criticism. While I've never been a fan of either the Rock or Seann William Scott, they turn in solid, affecting performances as do other "lightweight" actors like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake and a wonderfully creepy Jon Lovitz. Similarly, the cinematography and direction are excellent - every shot is wonderfully framed. However, even here limitations in Kelly's style are evident - there are several examples of the "slow motion / wandering" camera that he used to great effect in Darko, and uses again here. It IS great, but one has to wonder how limited his directorial vocabulary if his style is already so evident after only two films. The musical interludes, are again, as in Darko, beautifully filmed and the score is a mood-enhancing, integral part of the movie. And the SFX are excellent.
So a joy to look at, with an interesting cast on top form. However, where the film falls down is the script. It's ambitious, yes, which is always a bonus. And there are some nice allusions to literature and music.Read more ›
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 sheer brilliant films I have seen in some time. I'm not going to discuss the plot as you will find enough of that on here but I will point you in the right direction with some things that aren't apparently obvious.
Southland Tales is a modern day adaptation of the book of revelations played out in a post apocalyptic reality. The characters and scenes play out various set pieces that bear symbolic references to the book of revelations. Southland tales also encompasses a lot of Karl Marx's (famous philosopher) theories about social uprising. Without any knowledge of both of these you can miss the unravelling of Southland tales but still appreciate it for the beautiful film it actually is.
Southland Tales is not for everybody and while some may find it pretentious, I personally found it extremely engaging and thought provoking and in my opinion is a misunderstood masterpiece.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Self serving Vanity project that even Kelly himself said was a disappointing mistake that he regretted.Published 4 months ago by Mrs. D. Moncrieff
To describe this as abysmal is like describing that great abyss, the Mariana Trench as “a bit of a deep hole”. Read morePublished 7 months ago by harpoon guns to 'safe', please
This is the best film to buy if you like it. If you like any of the actors and want to see them do something they wouldn't usually do, rest assured everyone is somehow superb, in... Read morePublished 8 months ago by cxbrewster
Very weird film, based on parts of the Book of Revelations. Great casting.Arrived quickly, no issues, brilliant condition. Well worth watching.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
A far darker and denser movie than Donnie Darko. For those who are willing to persevere with the film, and those who know that all good art sometimes takes a few viewings to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by James Caldwell
What can I say, if you thought Donnie Darko was brilliantly strange then Southland Tales will leave you thinking this was amazingly strange even if a little surreal, but totally... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Chris