Sunday, October 11, 2009

Southland Tales - comments by Andy

Hmm....I really tried to like "Southland Tales." I really, really did. It had a terrific and deep cast, and a huge one at that. The acting was great - Dwayne Johnson did a great job at a neurotic scion of sorts. The film was also visually stunning. And it was long enough to get even a long and complicated story told (2:20 ish).

Can someone explain the plot? I think I understand the underlying issues and arcs - the world is in chaos after nuclear attacks on the US plunge the war into WWIII. The Patriot Act in the film mimics the real act but on steroids. Big Brother is alive and well in full Orwellian glory. And there's some sci-fi stuff too - apparently there's a new energy source that is poised to obviate any need for other types of energy, but it's a cancer on the earth's rotation (slowing it down).

Here's where it gets weird. The new energy source slows the earth's rotation and rips the time-space continuum. A couple of characters travel through the rip (for reasons I don't understand and are not adequately explained), but there's some new drug that causes the characters to forget whatever it is they are involved in, and why they are involved. Oh, and it's an election year, so all of the characters belonging to the underground neo-marxist movement are trying to disrupt the conservatives who are currently in power (and not willing to give up control any time soon),

And confusion ensues. I guess that if one character who has gone through the rip meets himself, the world is destroyed???? I couldn't quite figure it out. It wasn't instantaneous.

And I can't figure out who won, ultimately. The republicans killed most of the neo-marxists, and the rest were apparently blown up along with all the major republican players in the zeplin explosion. I don't quite get it. Fascinating, but confusing as hell.

I tried to get the back story to see if someone had the ability to explain it to me, but I didn't find it readily. What I did find were reviews similar in feeling to mine. Although some critics enjoyed the film, most did not. The film was a huge financial disaster too (generating a few hundred thousand but costing upwards of 17 million). I doubt it will have the cult following that "Donnie Darko" has.

I really did try to like the film though.

by Andy

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