Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 26
  2. Negative: 10 out of 26
  1. Southland Tales does have enough energy and audacity to suggest significant potential. But was it ready for public consumption? The answer is no. It's as simple as that.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    There's a lot of "stuff" here, and Kelly's biggest problem -- he's got more than a few -- is that he can't tell his good material from his bad.
  3. The English term "shambolic" best describes a slow-paced, bloated and self-indulgent picture that combines science fiction, sophomoric humor and grisly violence soaked in a music-video sensibility.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Rarely has a picture been so self-consciously designed to be a culturally meaningful touchstone, and fallen so woefully short, as Southland Tales.
  5. 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.
  6. You can't be both political and incoherent, and even though Kelly's models are "Kiss Me Deadly" and "Blade Runner," this vision of the near-future suggests a random blend of "Dr. No" and "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"
  7. 25
    I recommend that Kelly keep right on cutting until he whittles it down to a ukulele pick.
  8. A mess, and that's really a shame.
  9. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    It appears that Kelly spent the intervening years (since "Donnie Darko") taking hallucinogenic drugs, reading Philip K. Dick novels upside down, and – most disastrously – believing his own hype.
  10. 0
    If a more incoherent and self-indulgent movie has been released so far this century, I'm not aware of it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 43
  2. Negative: 11 out of 43
  1. Jun 13, 2012
    When I saw it in 2008 I was very confused and didn't get it at all. Why would Richard Kelly (the maker of Donnie Darko) make such a mess of a film? I was puzzled and it stayed in the back of my mind till I saw 'The Box' again. For this second viewing I thoroughly preparded myself: I read all 3 prequel comic books (330p.) and I read some internet explanations. Basically the Southland Tales is a liberal interpretation/rewrite of the Book of Revelations (which hails the second comming of christ and the end of the world) mixed in with modern pop culture and social/political critisism. The biggest fault of this film probably is that it tries to cram in so much that you cannot possibly get it all in one viewing. And those graphics novels realy ARE the first part of the movie. If you read those in MUCH easier to understand and follow the story coz you already know the characters and their backstory and you better understand why certain things happen and why they say and do things. If you can find (and read) those comics and give this film another go you will like it much more and appreciate the strange humor Kelly put in this complex satire...have a nice Apocalypse ;) Full Review »
  2. Feb 21, 2011
    Sarah Michelle Gellar Does A Great Job As Krysta Now...... BUT Most Of The Cast Including "The Rock" Were Pretty Bad Actors..... Although I Really Did Enjoy The Story Line... I Give This Movie A 7 Full Review »
  3. Aug 27, 2010
    why, why, why, why, why?
    Note to directors: if you're going to film whatever **** flies through your brain, at least have the common decency
    to make the final product less than 2 hours. That being said, it was probably the most well-acted roles I had seen by most of the big-name actors in the movie (most notably Justin Timberlake). But still, why!? Full Review »