21 May 2015

Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly and Me, Part 8: "SOUTHLAND TALES (2006)"

[Part 8 of a not-exactly-weekly 12-part blog series about Donnie Darko, S. Darko and the works of Richard Kelly]
Part 1 - "Donnie Darko"
Part 2 - "Donnie Darko: Director's Cut"
Part 3 - "Cindy's Thoughts on Donnie Darko"
Part 4 - "Eric's Pros & Cons of Living in Middlesex"
Part 5 - "Donnie Darko: Deleted Scenes vs. Director's Cut"
Part 6 - "S. Sarko: A Donnie Darko Tale"
Part 7 - "Donnie Darko vs. S. Darko"
Part 9 - "The Box"


USA / France / Germany, 2006
Director: Richard Kelly


 After the surprise success of "Donnie Darko", writer/director Richard Kelly could have done  everything, be it horror, sci-fi, action, drama, comedy, musical etc. Unfortunately, he decided to literally do everything at once and ended up with rolling every genre into one big fucking mess. Seriously, this movie is such a flabbergasting mess, it's absolutely inexplicable how this got green-lit in the first place. The movie made only about $375.000 against a budget of $17 million!

"Southland Tales" is basically 140 fucking minutes of various bizarre events leading to the world's end ("not with a whimper, but with a bang"), centered around an amnesiac action-movie star, a reality-TV porn actress, a police officer and his twin brother who works for a neo-Marxist group and
German firm who found a way to generate energy using seawater *phew*.
The whole thing is way, WAY too over-ambitious, way too over-exaggerated, way too over-the top, and sadly, it's the complete opposite of "Donnie Darko". It's obviously much too long (the original version that was shown in Cannes was even longer: 160 minutes!!), screenplay and plot are all over the place, the pacing is super-dull and Kelly's direction is just weird.

"Shenanigans: The Movie, or how Richard Kelly became Megalomanaic" would have been a much better fitting title...

Still, it's watchable because it's a completely unique, uber-crazy, never-seen-before mess. Is it good? No. Is it entertaining? Kinda, yes. The things
that I enjoyed:

- The Acting: Justin Timberlake as scarred Iraq war veteran, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as super-nervous and action star with amnesia, Sarah Michelle Gellar as porn star Krysta Now, Seann William Scott in a twin-brother double role, the mighty Zelda Rubinstein ("Poltergeist"), the uber-hot Bai Ling ("Crank 2") and Christopher Lambert ("Highlander").

- The Music: a fabulous score from Moby, plus many cool tunes from Radiohead ("Planet Telex"), Blur ("Tender") or Muse ("Blackout"), as well as a stunningly great performance of Rebekah Del Rio singing the National Anthem.

- A few stand-out scenes like the one with Justin Timberlake lip-singing The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done", the fascinating opening, the "humping cars" advertisement, or the explosive climax.

If you ever wanted to know how it would look like if David Lynch and Robert Altman remade "Postal", this is your chance! ;-)


  1. Got to agree, not a good movie by any means, but one I have never found boring (and I've watched it many times).

    1. I only watched it once and I don't plan on watching it a second time, but yeah, it's not that bad. Way too long, but it thoroughly entertained me, even though it's stupid as hell =D

  2. Wow, I hadn't heard about this one and had no idea how many stars were in it. I'm shocked it hasn't done better at the Box Office, but it does sound awfully muddled. Great review, as always! :)

    1. No wonder you haven't heard about it yet: it's an incredible mess, designated to bomb :)

  3. I'm just going to cheap plug now. I hope you don't mind...


    ...and since it would have taken up way too much space otherwise...


    Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow.

    1. Nope, I totally don't mind. Everyone should read that ;)


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