November 14, 2007

Thoughts on "Southland Tales"

Yes, it's a complete mess of a movie, that jumps all over the place in tone and never quite makes up its mind about whether it's a politically conscious post-apocalyptic thriller, or a parody of same. But you know what? I had a smile on my face the entire time. How can you not love a movie that casts The Rock as its messianic hero, Justin Timberlake as its Revelations-quoting narrator, Buffy as a porn star, Jon Lovitz (!) as a bad-ass cop, and Cheri Oteri (!!) as a heavily-armed revolutionary? And don't even get me started on Wallace Shawn as the German mad-scientist villain...

With its anarchic spirit, its parody of media saturation, and its intermittent David Lynch homages, Richard Kelly's film has more to say about the national mindset in 2007 than a thousand "Renditions" or "Lions For Lambs." "Southland Tales" is refreshing, among many other reasons, because it never takes itself too seriously.

It's certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea- so many people walked out of the screening early that it felt like a flashback to the Eagles-Cowboys game two weeks ago- but those who stayed, I could tell, loved it. I expect that, like Kelly's "Donnie Darko," 'Southland' will have a large cult of admirers who consider it brilliant. And I'm proud to be a charter member.

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 14, 2007 05:21 PM
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