List Film

Southland Tales (2 stars)

(15) 144min

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Southland Tales

SCI FI/COMEDY/DRAMA

Los Angeles, 4 July 2008. Society is on the brink of social, economic and environmental collapse and an action star/boxer, a porn star and a police officer are making a last stand. Writer/director Richard Kelly’s long-awaited follow-up to 2001’s Donnie Darko arrives on a wave of bad press and despite an extensive re-edit by Kelly, reports were not exaggerated. The film is painfully sophomoric and devoid of the wit, intelligence and pathos that made Donnie Darko such a unique experience. Aspiring to be a sci-fi epic, the film was shot on a tiny budget in only 30 days, and the film looks like an ‘avant-garde’ US TV show, with performances (a bland cast lead by The Rock and Sarah Michelle Geller) on about the same level.

Whatever Kelly’s vision was, it was hopelessly scrambled on the way to the screen. What’s left is an undisciplined mishmash of ill-conceived, poorly executed scenes going nowhere and a lot of slapstick violence and smug, surreal jokes. Kelly is insanely ambitious and he throws just about everything into the mix – Biblical prophecies, teenage porn, corporate conspiracies, rigged elections, time travel, World War Three – everything except believable characters, engaging dialogue, or a plot that makes any sense. When Kelly’s not apeing David Lynch he’s coat-tailing Kubrick (on the soundtrack), but he has sacrificed his own sensibility on the altar of his movie idols. In the process of realising his satiric-apocalyptic vision of the meaning of life he has short-circuited his talent.

Selected release from Fri 7 Dec.

Southland Tales

  • 2 stars
  • 2006
  • Germany/US/France
  • 144 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Richard Kelly
  • Written by: Richard Kelly
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore, Justin Timberlake, Miranda Richardson, Wallace Shawn, Bai Ling

It is July 2008, society is on the brink of social, economic and environmental collapse. An action star/boxer, a porn star and a police officer are making a last stand in their own peculiar ways. Painfully sophomoric and devoid of the wit, intelligence and pathos that made 'Donnie Darko' such a unique experience…

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