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May 12, 2008 | by  | in Film |
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Film Review: Southland Tales

Southland Tales is not for the viewer who delights in clarity and unambitious philosophical tangents. Director Richard Kelly set an undeniable precedent with his debut film Donnie Darko – a sci fi, arthouse-like black comedy. With such a great film under Kelly’s belt, Southland Tales was a definite disappointment.

World War Three has caused American authorities to extend the power of an agency known as US-IDent, a surveillance organisation which monitors American citizens. Fuel shortages have prompted the development of “Fluid Karma,” which is a form of renewable energy stimulated by ocean currents. Fluid Karma alters space and time by slowing the earth’s rotation. The unusual cast of Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Rock, Sean William Scott (American Pie’s Stifler) and Justin Timberlake is somewhat nauseating yet strangely intriguing. Timberlake provides some of the best story narration I have seen for some time. Scott is surprisingly adequate in his serious role of a neo-Marxist pawn/police officer and The Rock is not as bad as one would assume. The stand out performance is from Sarah Michelle Gellar who plays Krysta Now, an ex-porn star desperately trying to be taken seriously. Krysta falls short of this, especially when she releases her single “Teen Horniness is Not a Crime.”

Where Southland Tales goes wrong is its ridiculous length – an epic 144 minutes, but it feels a lot longer. It is obvious that Southland Tales is a fairly self indulgent project, with no real consideration of pacing and dragging to a somewhat predictable and disappointing conclusion. The film could have been loads better if it was just cut down – it was a series of truly great moments but as a whole it left the viewer wanting the film to hurry up and end.

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