Southland Tales Reviews

  • 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.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • Southland Tales is a funny, audacious, messy and feverishly inspired look at America and its discontents.

    Manohla Dargis — New York Times

  • Frustrating and finally rather pointless.

    Xan Brooks — Guardian [UK]

  • Writer/director Richard Kelly misses the mark with this bubbling stew of images and ideas that never quite congeals into a viable film.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • Southland may be ambitious in its genre-defying abandon, sideswiping science fiction, satire, film noir and melodrama along the way, but it's also exasperatingly convoluted, self-amused and politically sophomoric.

    Desson Thomson — Washington Post

  • Even if the world Kelly's concocted always seems screamingly incoherent, you have to hand it to him. He's made a movie of our messy times that's too ambitious to settle for merely capturing the mess. It actually is the mess.

    Wesley Morris — Boston Globe

  • 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.

    J. Hoberman — Village Voice

  • A colleague recently burbled to me that Southland Tales is "the worst movie of the year," and I could not disagree more. Yes, it's astonishingly bad, but it's far too demented to warrant that ultimate dishonor.

    David Edelstein — New York Magazine

  • A Schwarzeneggerian actor, related to a political dynasty, has been kidnapped, replaced with a double, and -- I give up. A plot synopsis would require that the movie have a plot.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • We're plunked down in the middle of an apocalyptic mess. This time the mess is not so much addressed as embodied by the film itself -- but damned if it doesn't roll around in your head a while.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • You can't be both political and incoherent.

    Jonathan Rosenbaum — Chicago Reader

  • Dizzyingly incoherent and subversively surreal, this sophomore effort from the man who made the great, strange Donnie Darko is certain to have its fans. I'm not going to be one of them.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

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

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • An example of a sophomore jinx encountered by radically experimental directors after their first effort proved to have more traction with audiences and critics than they had anticipated.

    Andrew Sarris — New York Observer

  • Spending $12 and 2 1/2 hours (30 minutes less than the Cannes cut) on something as aggressively bad as Southland Tales is not something I can recommend with a clear conscience.

    Lou Lumenick — New York Post

  • Richard Kelly's 'Southland Tales' Looms as rude, Confrontational Political Black Comedy about a Very Messed-Up, Dystrophian America - a Film with the Vigor and Incorrigible Quality of a Work-In-Progress.

    Joe Baltake — Passionate Moviegoer

  • Compared to the seemingly unsalvageable disaster Kelly screened at Cannes, this overcooked folly is a miraculous, Frankensteinian resurrection. Maybe this is grading on a curve, but I'd always rather have an excess of ambition than the opposite.

    Andrew O'Hehir —

  • With boundless ambition far exceeding his ability to tell a coherent story, Kelly manages only an artistic apocalypse.

    David Germain — Associated Press

  • As the plot becomes more convoluted and the movie goes haywire, what saves it are its sardonic details.

    Carina Chocano — Los Angeles Times

  • Not much improvement over the vfirst, severely flawed version.

    Emanuel Levy — EmanuelLevy.Com

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