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Southland Tales

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France, Germany, United States · 2006
Rated R · 2h 24m
Director Richard Kelly
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore
Genre Comedy, Science Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

After surviving twin nuclear attacks in 2005, the United States is now on the verge of collapse due to anarchy, terrorism, and a Third World War. In the near future of 2008 in dystopian Los Angeles, the destinies of an actor with amnesia, a psychic, former porn star, and twin brothers converge in order to reveal a widespread conspiracy.

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What are critics saying?


Film Threat by

The film is just too much exposition, too long, too convoluted, too many characters and ultimately a huge disappointment.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

If it arrives in final form as (still) a total mess, it's such a passionate and ambitious mess -- overcrowded with extraordinary images, incomprehensible ideas, literary and pop-cultural references and colliding subplots -- that it transcends its adolescent awkwardness and approaches being magnificent.


Los Angeles Times by Carina Chocano

You get the sense that Kelly is too angry to really find any of it funny. It's easy to empathize with his position, not so easy to remain engrossed in a film that's occasionally inspired but ultimately manic and scattered.


Premiere by Glenn Kenny

There's a lot of "stuff" here, and Kelly's biggest problem -- he's got more than a few -- is that he can't tell his good material from his bad.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

In its willful, self-involved eccentricity, Southland Tales is really something else. Kelly's movie may not be entirely coherent, but that's because there's so much it wants to say.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

Southland Tales has a mood unlike anything I've seen: dread that morphs into kitsch and then back again. It's a film that tried my patience, and one I couldn't shake off.


The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

The English term "shambolic" best describes a slow-paced, bloated and self-indulgent picture that combines science fiction, sophomoric humor and grisly violence soaked in a music-video sensibility.


L.A. Weekly by Scott Foundas

Southland Tales pilfers large chunks of its plot and visual style from Alex Cox’s "Repo Man," Kathryn Bigelow’s "Strange Days" and Shane Carruth’s Sundance-winning "Primer," and unlike the makers of those films, Kelly hasn’t digested his influences and made them his own -- he’s more like the slacker college kid who’s just enough of an intellectual poseur to bluff his way to an A. That said, Southland Tales isn’t entirely without its pleasures, chiefly The Rock.


Variety by Todd McCarthy

Rarely has a picture been so self-consciously designed to be a culturally meaningful touchstone, and fallen so woefully short, as Southland Tales.

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