Southland Tales: My thoughts

I watched Southland Tales the other night and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. I know that some people watched Donnie Darko and wondered what all the fuss was about; I think I would feel the same way about this movie by the same director except I’ve not heard anyone make a fuss about it. Now I know why.

For those that know nothing about the movie, in summary, it’s an ensemble piece set in the futuristic landscape of Los Angeles on July 4, 2008,  (the movie was released in 2006) 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.

Southland Tales appeared to me to be a movie trying too hard to be something far more than its content and cast would allow. Whilst some of the performances were commendable overall it just seemed a bit lost and limp. Long before the end of the movie my attention had gone astray and I was willing it to be over.

I also wasn’t taken by Justin Timberlake’s voice as the film’s narrator; whilst his screen time is ok I don’t think he has the voice to carry the movies narration. When I first saw him in Alpha Dog I was impressed, I had expected very little from him in that movie and he gave a solid performance, now unfortunately I’ll probably expect slightly less of him in whatever I watch him in next.

I couldn’t help but feel that underneath it all was an attempt to be as clever and well regarded as Mulholland Drive, but in the end it wasn’t even in the same caliber as Arlington Road.


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