If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Richard Kelly, the director of the cult film Donnie Darko, is finally ready for a wide release for his next film, and I don't envy him. Anticipation is high and there's almost no way to meet it. Donnie Darko created a rabid cult of fan boys (which I am admittedly one of) and they will be hard to please. Unfortunately, I think for most people, Southland Tales is going to fail to meet their expectations.This is going to be the film that pisses off people the most this year. I guarantee it. There's not just one way to review this film. There's the way the 95% of you are going to feel about it...you're going to absolutely hate it and will probably turn it off half way through. You wouldn't be wrong for feeling that way either. This movie was not made for you. Then there's that other five percent who it was made for. Half of that five will really enjoy it for what it is and the other half will REALLY enjoy it for what it is and will go completely Viggo Mortensen nuts-out for it, will start up websites and chat groups, have regular meetings and conventions...you get the idea.
The story...how to even begin? It's a sprawling network of interconnected character arcs through a dystopian near-future and is really hard to nail down a starting point for it.Two Texas cities have been destroyed by nuclear weapons. Bush remains president as a "war-time act". The patriot act has become it's own agency called US-Indent which has put tight controls on the internet and now uses fingerprints in order for people to access computers or their bank accounts. We're all but out of fossil fuels and the war in Iraq continues but is going very badly for us. In short, things are frakked up in a convincingly conceivable way.A big company called Treer has built a giant machine called Fluid Karma that gets an endless amount of energy from the ocean's currents and consequently have all but taken over the American political system with their new-found power. What no one realizes is that the machine has ripped a hole into the fourth dimension and is causing the Earth's rotation to slow down making things weird. Various people are addicted to a drug by-product of the Fluid Karma process, and it seems clear to a lot of people that final Armageddon is at hand. As the movie keeps repeatedly telling us, "The world ends not with a whimper, but a bang." At least, I think that's whats going on. Something along those lines.
is found out in the desert with no memory of his past and with an unidentifiable dead body in his car by drug dealer/gambling addict Fortunio Balducci (Will Sasso) who brings him to the attention of porn star/self-promoting entrepreneur/prophetess Krista Now.
(damn!) Krista also works for an anti-US-Ident group called the Neo-Marxists and she realizes that having access to a brain-wiped Boxer, who unknown to him is married to the daughter of a prominent Republican senator with US-Ident ties, could be very advantageous to the cause, which in turn could be helpful to her career. She convinces Boxer that they are lovers and that they wrote a screenplay together called "The Power" which is about the end of the world and is actually a prophecy written by Krista who herself is unaware of her new abilities. The Treer corporation on the other hand, IS aware of her ability and is monitoring the situation carefully to see what happens.
Also going on is Roland Tavener/Ronald Tavener
One is a cop (seen tied to a chair here) and one is his twin brother, an actor who also has a mysterious desert-related case of amnesia and who is being used by the Neo-Marxists to pretend to be his twin. He is sent out with Boxer who is doing a ride-along with a police officer in order to research his role in "The Power" but the goal is to fake a shooting of a black man and make it look like police racism so that Boxer will take his story to the press.
All this is about 1/4 of the beginning premise. Just the premise. There are so many damn characters in here I've had easier times trying to remember all the girls who I tried and failed to have sex with. Here's a brief list of prominently featured actors in the film: The Rock, Sean William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore, Cheri Oteri, Holmes Osbourne, Will Sasso, Miranda Richardson, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Smith, Wallace Shawn, Beth Grant, John Larroquette, Nora Dunn, Amy Poehler, Justin Timberlake, Ling Bai, Curtis Armstrong, Rebekah Del Rio, Janeane Garolfalo (who's part was all but cut out), Christopher Lambert...that's not even counting some silly cameos that appear for a moment here and there like seeing Eli Roth get shot to death on a toilet, and tons more actors who aren't as well known.