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Southland Tales (2007)



Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 96
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 61

Southland Tales, while offering an intriguing vision of the future, remains frustratingly incoherent and unpolished.


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 18

Southland Tales, while offering an intriguing vision of the future, remains frustratingly incoherent and unpolished.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 26,756

My Rating

Movie Info

The city stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. "Southland Tales" is an epic story set over the course of three days that culminate in a massive 4th of July celebration. Boxer Santaros is an action star stricken with amnesia. Krysta Now is an adult film star developing her own reality television project, and Roland Taverner is a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.

Mar 18, 2008


Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (96) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (61) | DVD (9)

By the climax, his truly ambitious, truly flawed film finally disappears into the 'time-space rift' (or whatever) to achieve some sort of cosmic transcendence.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most confusing, ridiculous, pretentious and disastrous cinematic train wrecks I've ever seen.

November 19, 2007 | Comments (3)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By the time the movie rolls into its third hour, it's exhausted most of its comic energy, leaving you disoriented and unable to remember much of what you just saw.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Immature, crude, poorly made and a waste of time.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

No amount of reworking could salvage what was a misbegotten and unfunny idea to begin with.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You can't be both political and incoherent.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As in Kelly's previous film, Southland's flaws, and its scope, are magnificently earnest; the guy is in way over his head, but his flailing is extravagant.

December 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Stop Smiling
Stop Smiling

As the follow-up to his debut feature, the unexpectedly enduring teen-movie/sci-fi hybrid Donnie Darko, writer-director Richard Kelly has crafted an even more ambitious and far-reaching story

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Writer-director Richard Kelly throws a lot at the wall. The problem, if that's what we should call it, is that everything sticks. That's bad news for those who like some narrative clarity, and great news for those who enjoy bonkers wall art.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Unusual and extremely ambitious with an alternate reality that is entirely absorbing; Southland Tales is Richard Kelly's magnum opus that only a small few are able to recognize. Thankfully, those small few are pimps. And pimps don't commit suicide.

June 11, 2013 Full Review Source:

Not much improvement over the vfirst, severely flawed version.

July 23, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Dude, I have no idea.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

The brilliance of Southland Tales is inextricable from its flaws, if indeed they are flaws.

November 8, 2009 Full Review Source:

Has the galvanic pulse of a filmmaker trying things out, failing, and trying again

August 25, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

It's the sort of experience you feel embarrassed about even though you had nothing to do with it, because it's not just a mess, it's a pretentious mess

July 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

This is not just another hodgepodge of a movie that's all noise and excess; writer/ director Richard Kelly has a point here; he has plenty to say.

December 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The type of incoherent, indulgent muddle that can only emerge from the mind of someone who is quite talented.

December 27, 2008 Full Review Source:

I'll give it this: Southland Tales is never boring.

August 31, 2008 Full Review Source: ABC News (Australia)
ABC News (Australia)

entirely misdirected, and the film never gels or even makes sense

August 17, 2008 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Although it's by any reasonable means a flawed film, Southland Tales demands watching, if only for its cinematic achievements.

July 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Sets up such a pretense of intellectualism it fools its audience into believing it's on a plane they can't understand...

May 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed | Comments (2)
Cinema Crazed

A subversive and annihilistic satire on America, lurching from black comedy to farce, from dramatic insight to superficial jokes

April 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile | Comment (1)
Urban Cinefile

When it's not being obstinately stupid, Southland Tales is just difficult to watch.

March 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus

While Donnie Darko is a fine film regardless of your level of sobriety, Richard Kelly's sophomore effort most definitely is not.

March 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

I hope Kelly's career survives Southland Tales, unless, that is, he plans to make more movies like this.

January 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

They've left it late, but writer-director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) and his team have gone and scooped The Independent's Worst Film of 2007 award - against stiff competition, too.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

Audience Reviews for Southland Tales

A film that leaves you in awe. In awe of the amount of wasted talent combined in this pretentious, confusing and unfunny dystopian tale. Director Kelly delivered a surprise cult hit with Donny Darko and revisits the themes of time travel and the end of the world here. He packs it into an overly long story with political satire, too many unlikable characters and a plot that's almost impossible to follow. It's trying to be smart, funny and David Lynch-esque but isn't really any of that. During the last half an hour things are slowly starting to make a little more sense but the finale, overblown with Christian symbolism, makes it hard to care after the horrible first half of the movie. Unbelievable, how many great names signed up to be part of this terrible attempt in creating art. Kelly still knows how to use songs and to film musical numbers but as for the rest is concerned, one has to wonder what the hell he was thinking. Watch at your own risk.
February 12, 2013

Super Reviewer

A strange film set in the future with a confusing plot with deals with alternative energy, politics, world war 3 and the 4th dimension!! A bit long it has some good moments but a few lows as well. Overall just a bit odd.
April 3, 2011

Super Reviewer

Ya gotta give credit to Richard Kelly. The man definitely has some interesting, unique, and different ideas, and he's definitely got an unmatched sense of creativity and wicked sense of style. His ambition is something to be praised. He makes some interesting movies, but unfortunately, accessibility is something he doesn't excel at. Donnie Darko was a challenge, but it didn't seem so bad trying to get a handle on things. This on the other hand, is probably understandable eventually, but it's too much to want to try to give it a chance and to figure out what the fuck is going on. Now, apparently this is supposed ot be an update or take on the the Book Of Revelation, as well as being filled with a ton of other references to things as varied a the works of Philip K. Dick, Marx, and a host of others. The problem is, this film is an incoherent, rambling, pretty pretentious, mess. If there is a narrative, it's not all that apparent. The look of things is cool, and, as I said, the ideas are interesting, but yeah, nothing makes sense. Following this movie is impossibl.. I am not sure if the casting is a bad thing or a good thing. I like a good number of the people in the cast, but I'm not sure if having most of the cast being the result of stunt is such a good idea. I will admit though, it was very entertaining, and amusing even if baffling and unbelievable to have Timberlake do a song and dance number. I should give this a lower grade, but I won't. Even with all my (valid) bitching about the many issues with the writing, there's some cool stuff going on here: the aforementioned song and dance number, the car commercial with copulating cars, and the fact that Kelly makes the films he wants, even if only he truly knows what the fuck is going on. My only hope is that in the future, Kelly keeps making these bold and brain exercising films, but that he learns how to make things a little esier on the average person. It wouldn't kill him to learn how to make things more coherent and accessible without losing the trippiness of things.
October 28, 2010
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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