Movie Review: Southland Tales (2007)

Southland TalesFrom the guy who brought us the awesome Donnie Darko, one of my favorite films of all times, comes Southland Tales, a movie with a few similar themes but one big difference: it sucks big time. Here’s a snippet of my full movie review…

Wednesday night. Eight people. Only four survivors. The emotional toll for those who endured was almost too much to handle.

The situation: Southland Tales, the two-hour, forty-minute Richard Kelly follow-up to the classic Donnie Darko. It was a massacre if I ever saw one, where fifty percent of the audience was shot down, their lives destroyed in an instant. Only it wasn’t an instant. One man, popcorn still in hand, didn’t make an hour, and the three large young ladies who had to sit down right behind me, most likely just to annoy me by talking the entire time (though as it turns out their commentary helped get me through the rough patches), left just before the scene where one SUV humps another SUV. I’d never seen so many people walk out before, but I don’t really blame them: Southland Tales is a mess, and not the fun mess Kelly was shooting for.

I am a big fan of Donnie Darko, and in terms of theme, Southland Tales isn’t that far removed. There are wormholes, time travel and distortion of reality, but how all of that is delivered is so absurd and unruly that it’s nearly impossible to enjoy. Southland Tales is like one of those movies you see in another movie, where some low grade director is trying to make an epic, and when he sits down at the premiere he watches in horror as everyone falls asleep or gets up and walks out. The movie is an epic; it’s just an epic that doesn’t find its identify and isn’t able to engage the audience. It has a message, but without interesting characters or an entertaining plot, Southland Tales falls apart at the seams.

Read my full Southland Tales movie review.

By Erik Samdahl
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