Richard Kelly makes some of the coolest yet unexplainable films I have ever seen, granted my experience with him extends only to his two feature films but let me tell you Southland Tales is quite the trip. I had a very enjoyable time watching Southland Tales, but I can still tell you I have no idea what it was about.
The film opens with a quaint family filled birthday party in Texas that is being filmed by one of the children a the party when suddenly a bright flash is seen and a bang and a nuclear bomb has been exploded, an act of terrorism that starts the dystopic future that prevails in Kelly’s version of America. Due to WWIII and being cut off from the Middle East our nation is looking for alternate fuel sources, and has just unveiled a thermo dynamic system off the coast of California. Meanwhile, actor Boxer Santos has disappeared and his politician father-in-law is frantically looking for him as it is an election year. Combine this with Boxer’s porn star girlfriend, a terror group called the Neo-Marxists & an overbearing Big Brother government and you have Southland Tales.
Southland Tales is narrated by Pilot Abilene, an actor and soldier who watches over Malibu and deals drugs. Abilene was one of my favorite characters in the film and I am really coming to respect Timebrlake as an actor – he does a dang good job. My favorite sequence in the film is a musical sequence to “All These Things” by the Killers, which is used when Abilene is on a high. Watching the sequence makes me hope that Kelly might one day do a little more with the musical genre, it was beautiful.
I can’t recommend this movie to everyone because I know it would drive quite a few people nuts. However, if you liked Donnie Darko or just want to try a very unique but artful film then give Southland Tales a try. Kelly is a unique artist and I want him to be supported.
Director & Writer: Richard Kelly
Cyndi Pinziki: Nora Dunn
Starla Von Luft: Michele Durrett
Krysta Now: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Boxer Santos: Dwayne Johnson
Vaughn: John Laraquette
Serpentine: Lai bing
Bart Bookman: Jon Lovitz
Madeline Frost Santos: Mandy Moore
Dream: Amy Poehler
Nana Mae Frost: Miranda Richardson
Roland Taverner: Seann William Scott
Baron Von Westphalen: Wallace Shawn
Simon Theory: Kevin Smith
Private Pilot Abilene: Justin Timberlake
Cyndi Pinziki: Nothing an eight ball, a porn star and a tattoo parlor can't handle.