is how the world ends"
Los Angeles on July
4, 2008 and as the Third World War ranged in the Middle East and Asia, America
was bracing itself for a new Presidential election and even more political
and social unrest. With the current Government pushing through new legislation
and upgrading the Patriot Act to the new US-IDENT system that controls access
the Internet and the media, Baron Von Westphalen (Shawn) introduces a new
fuel source that will end the US dependence on Middle Eastern oil. But as
superstar actor Boxer Santaros (Johnson) walks out of the desert outside
of Los Angeles and into the arms of porn star Krysta Now (Gellar), a series
of events fall into motion that could lead to the end of days.
the movie world with the visionary 'Donnie Darko', the expectations for
Richard Kelly's next film was bound to be huge but unfortunately fans will
be extremely disappointed.
The problem with
been labelled as the next big thing in film is that the movie going public
and critics alike have great expectations for what is to come next but with
'Southland Tales', Richard Kelly certainly hasn't met those heady expectations.
Wanting to make a political statement about a current issue is all well
and good but when you try and cover all of the world's problems in one swell
The trouble in the
Middle East, North Korea, the terrorist threat, the energy crisis, American
social and economic problems, the presidential election, combat stress and
the US obsession with celebrity are just some of the topics intermixed with
a dose of science fiction but instead of producing a movie that is far too
surreal and confusing to make any kind of statement. While this is fine
for someone like David Lynch, who is the master at this genre of cinema,
there is far too much going on for the audience to comprehend and make sense
The success of 'Donnie
Darko' has allowed Richard Kelly to gather together an all-star cast however
but the problem is that he doesn't know what to do with them. While Dwayne
Johnson is best known for his action flicks, he has been trying to prove
that he can also be just as good an actor but due to quality of his dialogue
and how is asked to deliver it, this is not what he was probably wanting.
The same can be said of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean William Scott but
only the supporting cast seem to have any fun with their roles, with Wallace
Shawn, Mandy Moore and Justin Timberlake, who also acts as the narrator.
With a fusion of
too many genres, an incomprehensible plot, awful dialogue and tackling far
too many political and social issues, 'Southland Tales' is a complete mess
of a movie. While there is always room for visionary directors to make statements
about the world and the country they live in, you really want the audience
to understand what you are trying to say to cause discussion and debate
and not just have them talking about how confusing and awful the film is.
Presented in Widescreen
1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.
The Making of
Southland Tales (33.42 mins)
Writer/director Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick, production designer
Alec Hammond, director of photography Steve Poster and stars Dwayne Johnson,
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean William Scott, Wallace Shawn, Todd Berger, Will
Sasso, Bai Ling, Zelda Rubenstien, Justin Timberlake, Curtis Armstrong,
Jon Lovitz and Wood Harris take you behind the scenes of the making of 'Southland
Tales'. Pitching the idea as a political satire of an alternative future
and the American response to terrorism, the cast and crew try and explain
how they understand the movie and there own interpretation of the plot,
showing that they don't really know what is going on either.
While the making
of featurette is fine, the lack of any other extras make this not the best
DVD release. A commentary track should have been a must from Richard Kelly
and he could have explained exactly what is going on.
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