During a three day heat wave just before a huge 4th of July celebration, an action star stricken with amnesia meets up with a porn star who is developing her own reality TV project, and a policeman who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.
Southland Tales is 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 Ronald Taverner, a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.Written by
In addition to the feature film, an expanded version of Southland Tales will be presented as a six-part interactive experience with the prequel saga to be published as three separate 90-130 page graphic novels, each written by Kelly. The graphic novels will be released over a six month period early in 2007 leading up to the film's release with the feature film comprised of the story's final three chapters. In addition, the film's official website will be one of the largest and most elaborate ever designed for a feature film. Richard Kelly describes the graphic novels as a "work in tandem with the website, creating a more epic multimedia experience for those interested in taking the plunge." See more »
After Pilot Abilene (Justin Timberlake) sings "All These Things That I Have Done", Roland Tavener (Seann William Scott) is found lying on the ground. He gets up and starts to run, leaving his radio on the pavement. Later, we see Roland Tavener walking down the sidewalk with the radio back on his belt. See more »
Private Pilot Abilene:
In the aftermath of nuclear attacks in Texas, America found itself on the brink of anarchy.
[overlapping news reports]
Private Pilot Abilene:
World War III had begun.
Private Pilot Abilene:
The accelerated conflict in the Middle East placed significant restrictions on American access to oil. Alternative fuel sources became a lucrative commodity. Americans were transfixed by the terrorist's threat, and were willing to prevent another attack by any means necessary. Military checkpoints were erected at each State line. ...
[...] See more »
After the credits, a logo appears of a thumbprint over an American flag with the words: "DON'T TOUCH ME" See more »
Originally running for 160 minutes, Southland Tales premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 to a disastrous reception. Because of this, it was re-edited and shortened in length as part of the distribution deal. Since the shortened version was shown theatrically and released on DVD, the Cannes cut has been shown on Cable TV and DVD releases in Europe. Some of the changes between the theatrical cut and the Cannes cut are as follows:
Opens the same as theatrical cut, with home video in Abilene, except with music ('Water Pistol' by Moby) and runs longer. Video is also shown in its original aspect ratio, instead of cropped for 2.35:1.
Doomsday Scenario Interface is not present in the original cut, it was added to provide background information present in the graphic novels. Instead we have narration from Pilot Abilene explaining the present situation and Treer Corporation.
The meeting between the Baron and Hideo Takehashi takes place much earlier in the film, Pilot explains the Baron dislikes Takehashi.
The character of General Teena MacArthur is more fleshed out in original cut, she mainly communicates with General Simon Theory and the Baron.
Many scenes with dialog between main characters have been extended i.e. scenes with Boxer & Roland, Krysta & Cyndi, Boxer & Starla, Cyndi & Vaughn Smallhouse etc.
Pilot explains that Bart Bookman is an 'angry man' with a willingness to die.
Some events that take place are better explained in original cut e.g. Boxer ringing Fortunio before meeting him, Serpentine explaining her actions at the end.
Features additional effects of the blimp not in theatrical version.
Features music by Moby not present in theatrical version i.e. 'Ceanograph' is heard in scene giving information on the rift, 'Hotel Intro' is heard as characters visit different sections on the blimp.
The real failure of this film isn't that it's overcomplicated in terms of plot. It is definitely overloaded with plots and subplots, characters, and various allusions to the arts. Its downfall is that it uses its central theme of media criticism as an excuse not to present its ideas coherently -- it critiques an incoherent form in an incoherent way. Pot Kettle Black.
The primary thing that keeps the film from succeeding as a whole is its constant shifts in tone. While the filmmakers might argue that they are aping/satirizing the way we get information through the media, it makes for a rotten experience at the cinema. Some scenes are sketch comedy, some are ponderous (in a good sense), there is a bit of action and bit of fun with setting of the film. Without a truly riveting lead character or other weighted focus point it falls apart -- really by the conclusion of the film it's just white noise.
The casting is meant to be part of the media critique, but it's works against the film to keep thinking, 'hey -- that's the guy from Revenge of the Nerds and Moonlighting again', and keeps you distracted from the plot and characters' relationship to the plot. When thinking of this aspect of the film AFTER viewing it's a straightforward idea -- hey the filmmakers are saying that the government is using entertainment to keep us from following the real news, man! But during the actual experience of watching the film, the casting starts one thinking of Mars Attacks or dare I say it, Cannonball Run......
The lighting was very flat, which I assume again is part of the 'fast food media' critique - but ugly is still ugly. Especially considering Donnie Darko I was expecting something worth looking at visually. There are some big IDEAS presented visually, but they are not visually interesting in a formal sense. There has to be SOMETHING for the audience to hang its hat on beyond an idea. Cinema is a sensate experience, not merely an intellectual one.
I look forward to reading about this someday in Scott Tobias's "My Year Of Flops - Redux" on the Onion AV Club....
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