By Fred Topel | Image property of Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Everyone is having fun bashing Southland Tales, but that leads to its own sort of letdown. If you're going to really rip into a movie, it better be Showgirls. Southland Tales is not that bad. Don’t exaggerate.
Movie Review: Southland Tales
I was into it for a while. It's weird and intriguing. There's a political ideology and a philosophical morality that I find compelling. It's got some good satire with inappropriate corporate sponsorships and some cool visuals. The reflection gag and the guns are the future suggest creative genius. The random psychedelic moments are fun.
It's not hard to understand. It's just who would care about what this is about? A terrorist plot with no action, a future that's only a year from now, a vague sci-fi explanation about why the film's own weird construction exists? But hey, monkeys are funny. It may be nonsense, but it's creative nonsense.
The acting is bizarre and it's hard to tell if that's the performers or their direction. Idiots speak with false authority and authority figures are meek. That may be an artistic statement, but some characters are so broad it defeats the purpose. Then when they start talking quantum phenomena, it feels like a sci-fi channel movie because they take it so damn seriously.
It's shot like a cheap little movie. There are some odd angles that suggest not an alternative view, but just someone who didn't quite get the tripod set up right. And I know it's not supposed to be a wildly different future, it's only 2008, but it's shot in backyards, bars and back alleys. That's really the ghetto version of sci-fi.
Some of the porn talk is just too overt for its own good. Having big stars say "c*ck" and "f*ck" doesn't make it any better than when lowlifes say it. And Tarantino has shown that you can make vulgarity artistic. This is neither real nor artistic. I will give them that the morning before pill is an ingenious thought.
I've got to respect Richard Kelly for making no apologies for this. It was never designed to be everyone's cup of tea, so why not go all out. It worked for me a little bit. It won't work for many people. But he'll be fine. He'll take some generic star vehicle and do some crazy f*cked up sh*t with it.