Southland Tales (Review)

Published on October 1st, 2012

So I wanted to try something a little different. This is our new home media column called Netflix Roulette. Basically I look through Netflix and pick out a lesser known movie from the mix.

Most recently I checked out a film called Southland Tales. It’s written and directed by Richard Kelly. He previously made the film Donnie Darko which I loved. So I decided to give this one a try.

The first thing I noticed is the cast list. It’s chocked full of big actors for its time. Justin Timberlake who has a smaller part in the film, but is the narrator as well. He does get a nice scene where he’s on drugs lip syncing along to a Killers tune. Then you have Dwayne Johnson, I think this is one of his earlier ventures into movies. He looked uncomfortable on screen, especially as the films central character. The movie also features Sean William Scott, Mandy Moore, Amy Poehler, Cheri Oteri, Will Sasso, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Kevin Smith. So it’s full of big names and I had never heard of the thing.

The film takes place in the US, it’s World War III and a Nuke was dropped on the Texas city of Abeline. Okay let me chime in right here. Seriously? Abeline? Have you ever been there? Why would a terrorist nuke Abeline opposed to Dallas? Makes NO sense. Okay so synopsis continued. You have to have a travel visa to leave your state and from what I understood, all government was moved to the state of California. Where off the shore is a new form of energy that uses currents of the ocean. It’s called Fluid Karma. The Government trusts no one and you’re being watched at all times you’re in public by cameras and army everywhere. Dwayne Johnsons character Boxer Santaros is married to the daughter of a presidential candidate, but now he’s missing. He shows back up and doesn’t know who he is. Making him easy bait for a couple of “terrorist” groups trying to influence the election result.

However as we learn it wouldn’t be a Richard Kelly film without some kind of twist. Apparently the Fluid Karma is slowing the earth down and ripping a hole into the fourth dimension. So all of this plays into Boxer Santaros not knowing anything about himself. He was kidnapped and thrown into the fouth demension. But he came out the other side.. or someone that looked like him did. So it’s him but it isn’t and we learned that the normal Boxer was killed and burned. There was some more stuff about the end of the world in there, but by then I was having a hard time understanding any of it.

I found the whole thing terribly long and difficult to follow. I appreciate the attempt at a film that will make the audience thing. But putting us to sleep is not keeping us interested and engaged. There’s a reason it didn’t make more than half a million dollars in theaters. It’s terrible. Best to just avoid this one, unless you can’t help your curiosity. You can thank me for the warning later.

Grade: F



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