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
Richard Kelly wrote the script shortly before the September 11 attacks. The original script involved blackmail, a porn star, and two cops. After the attacks, Kelly revised the script. He said, "[The original script] was more about making fun of Hollywood. But now it's about, I hope, creating a piece of science fiction that's about a really important problem we're facing, about civil liberties and homeland security and needing to sustain both those things and balance them." He described the film as a "tapestry of ideas all related to some of the biggest issues that I think we're facing right now . . . alternative fuel or the increasing obsession with celebrity and how celebrity now intertwines with politics". With the film's premise of a nuclear attack on Texas, Kelly wanted to take a look at how the United States would respond and survive while constructing a "great black comedy." See more »
In the scene when they are stealing the ATM the tires on the SUV change from both spinning, to only the right one spinning, and then back to both spinning. 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.
Not as bad as you've heard... never would have done well
This movie, maybe more than any other I've seen, is a commitment. If you think that 144 minutes is a lot to commit to a movie, the running time is only the tip of the iceberg.
In the DVD cut of the movie, a lot of things are obscured: what the big picture is, why characters are motivated to do certain things, why multiple identities are a recurring theme, why certain characters/actions are necessary.
What is in the DVD cut is an extensively detailed alternate world. Unfortunately, to make the actions in that alternate world make sense, you basically have to either watch the movie multiple times, or at least know what you're dealing with.
There are at least 4 layers to everything that's going on: 1) political/social commentary on contemporary American society and the apocalyptic undercurrent therein; 2) sarcastic/caustic pop culture references (Philip K. Dick is a big one, but also subtle things... for instance, the Rock was Sean William Scott's protector in "The Rundown" and plays a similar role here); 3) a self-consciousness or self-referentialism: actors cast against type, some similar themes to Donnie Darko, actions that play out in the film are largely based off of the AWFUL screenplay written by one of the characters (as seen in the graphic novel prequels); 4) the actual plot of the movie, which has deep ties to the Book of Revelation, and makes much more sense if the graphic novels are read first.
These layers are pretty consummately intertwined. This is part of what makes this movie to be compelling enough to make me want to put in the necessary effort. Its imagery was provocative, and because Richard Kelly has created such a densely layered world for himself, putting in the time actually is incredibly rewarding.
It should also be said that this film, like Blade Runner or There Will Be Blood, does not let its plot set specifications on its scope, or what it's about. If you hone in on what the director thinks its scope/purpose is, it's much easier to appreciate.
I'm not sure exactly how to rate this movie, since as a stand alone movie it is a failure, but if you take the time to get inside Kelly's mind, it's worthwhile. So. My advice? View it as an investment or don't view it at all. Don't throw it on for an evening's entertainment. If you do, you might be entertained, but you'll probably be confused and angry.
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