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Southland Tales: Streaming Review


Description: An ensemble piece set in the futuristic landscape of Los Angeles on July 4, 2008, as it stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. Boxer Santaros is an action star who’s stricken with amnesia. His life intertwines with Krysta Now, an adult film star developing her own reality television project, and David Clark, a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.

5 Second Review: Not for the average fan, but a fantastic piece of performance art and a modern classic

Full Review: This is a tough movie to review, that’s because it’s a tough movie to watch. That is not necessarily a bad thing though as this much misunderstood epic follow up to Donny Darko from Richard Kelly is a classic study in film.

If you are the average movie fan you are not going to enjoy this movie. It is performance art and a fantastic study in filmmaking, but it is hard work to actually watch all the way through. It appears on many of the worst movie lists for this reason however it does not belong there, but really in many ways is a fantastic piece of work.

The cinematography is tough to describe as is much of how it is made. It is a sensory-overload barrage of multiple media images that fill the screen, or often multiple screens within the screen. These are used to tell the stories within the story of which as far as I can tell there are about 9. The biggest of which is the screenplay written by Boxer and Krysta “The Power”.

“The Power” is essentially the psychic ramblings of Krysta from seeing into the future of the last three days on earth (Revelation) which the movie is basically following along. So to sum it up, “The Power” is an adaptation of the Book of Revelation written by Krysta within the movie “Southland Tales” which is itself an adaptation of a screenplay based on the Book of Revelation. Got that?

Don’t worry that’s not even the most confusing part. There is a ton of hidden stuff in this movie and I have watched it three times and still do not think I have it all yet. Lots of the dialogue is straight from the Book of Revelation. Other dialogue is cribbed almost directly from T.S. Eliot, Jane’s Addiction, Karl Marx, and Robert Frost as well.

The acting is excellent and seeing actors like Dwayne Johnson and Seann William Scott chew on this piece is amazing in itself and the casting is a bit of genius in itself with Sara Michelle Gellar (Buffy) playing a porn star and Kevin Smith playing a modern version of The Wizard if nothing else you will have a good time watching these actors play with this material.

This movie is absolutely baffling and will probably take multiple watching to catch everything. A film school student could well write a thesis based on this movie alone. Although it was savaged by critics in its unfinished form at Cannes it was also up for the Palm d’Or. Kelly’s big mistake was in submitting an unfinished move as when its whittled down and finished theatrical release came out it got much better reviews.

However to really understand the movie you need to see it. It is showing on Crackle in its full bizarre 2 hour and 25 minutes. Forget the description about a heat wave and a 4th of July party. Basically that has nothing to do with the movie and why that’s the description they chose to use I have no idea.

We call it brilliant in all its misguided and self involved lunacy and eccentricity this is an abstract look at the times in which we live and the future we just might be in store for.

The fantastic thing about this movie is that it lets you judge for yourself although it is a bit heavy handed on the militaristic and patriot act themes it basically is a retelling of the Bible’s book of revelation in some form or another.

The film is performance art and no one can ever understand it totally which in many ways is its beauty. Just enjoy the ride. It’s not many a film that can make you think like Southland Tales does and for that it should be considered a modern classic.

About Michael
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