User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 71
  2. Negative: 20 out of 71
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Jun 13, 2012
    8
    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 TalesWhen 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 ;) Expand
  2. Feb 21, 2011
    7
    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
  3. PnArdyPnArdy
    Mar 6, 2008
    10
    This is a movie from a twisted mind of a pure genius. What an inspiring masterpiece! Most likely you haven't seen anything like this before. It can only compare with such outstanding works as Memento, X-Files, 14th floor. It has the look and feel of The Fifth Element, Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet, and Tank Girl combined and at the same time sends a strong political message with a glimpse This is a movie from a twisted mind of a pure genius. What an inspiring masterpiece! Most likely you haven't seen anything like this before. It can only compare with such outstanding works as Memento, X-Files, 14th floor. It has the look and feel of The Fifth Element, Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet, and Tank Girl combined and at the same time sends a strong political message with a glimpse on the bizarre future apocalyptic word. It may seem a crappy low budget at first but soon you become captivated with its pioneering vision, outstanding script, decent actor performances and FX, brilliant soundtrack from Moby which makes it overall an unforgettable hard-to-compare-with-anything-else experience, the whole movie being only part 4 of the total 6 parts of the epic. Expand
  4. [Anonymous]
    Jun 3, 2008
    9
    Some people are too rigid, too mainstream, and too unimaginative. These people are the ones who gave a bad rating to this film. I've never watched a movie in which I actually enjoyed not knowing what the heck was going on, being completely lost in the plethora of non-nonsensical plot lines. The end clarified some things, and caused other things to become even more convoluted, which Some people are too rigid, too mainstream, and too unimaginative. These people are the ones who gave a bad rating to this film. I've never watched a movie in which I actually enjoyed not knowing what the heck was going on, being completely lost in the plethora of non-nonsensical plot lines. The end clarified some things, and caused other things to become even more convoluted, which was great. I loved all the cameos in this movie and the Rock and Stifler were amazing. Expand
  5. DanielS.
    Nov 18, 2007
    10
    Wow, I just saw this movie and I was blown away. I can see why people that look for simplistic forms of entertainment might not get it. Kelly has a style like no other director and it shows. The musical number is Justing Timberlake is just the icing on the cake. This movie rocks as he the rock does too. I went with intelligent friends and they loved it. All it takes is concentration and Wow, I just saw this movie and I was blown away. I can see why people that look for simplistic forms of entertainment might not get it. Kelly has a style like no other director and it shows. The musical number is Justing Timberlake is just the icing on the cake. This movie rocks as he the rock does too. I went with intelligent friends and they loved it. All it takes is concentration and an understanding that a movie can transcend its limitations. Expand
  6. JohnF.
    Feb 14, 2008
    10
    Without first reading the prequel graphic novel, Southland Tales will seem like the most random film you have ever seen. If you read the graphic novel first, Southland Tales will still be abstract, but it will also actually be coherent and comprehensible. Was this a mistake on the filmmaker's part? Yes. Is it eccentric? Yes. Is it a great story worth dedicating hours of your life to Without first reading the prequel graphic novel, Southland Tales will seem like the most random film you have ever seen. If you read the graphic novel first, Southland Tales will still be abstract, but it will also actually be coherent and comprehensible. Was this a mistake on the filmmaker's part? Yes. Is it eccentric? Yes. Is it a great story worth dedicating hours of your life to understand? Yes. I do not know any other filmmaker and cast who experimented this much with the film medium since David Lynch. Is it Lynch? No. Is it good? Yes. Is it easy to understand? No. Is the film meaningless? No. Like Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly does not coddle his audience in terms of narrative. Like a dream, you are going to have to piece it together after you finish viewing it. Do yourself a favor and buy the Prequel Graphic Novel and read it before watching the film! Then buy the DVD and let the film wash over you like a bizarre dream. At the end of the entire experience, figure it out. Expand
  7. ChadS.
    Mar 20, 2008
    7
    When an artist starts to believe his own press; the premature pronouncement by some overzealous fanboys(and a few critics) that the filmmaker is a genius(and yes, "Donnie Darko" was very accomplished for a first feature film), it's no wonder that the "genius" would attempt to match that initial success, and therefore overreach with a project as wildly ambitious as "Southland Tales". When an artist starts to believe his own press; the premature pronouncement by some overzealous fanboys(and a few critics) that the filmmaker is a genius(and yes, "Donnie Darko" was very accomplished for a first feature film), it's no wonder that the "genius" would attempt to match that initial success, and therefore overreach with a project as wildly ambitious as "Southland Tales". As some of you may know, "Donnie Darko" was released into theaters the same week that the towers fell, and predictably, it tanked at the box office(people were too busy watching CNN) before DVD gave it a second life. The filmmaker acknowledges the historical context behind the first running of "Donnie Darko" by providing "Southland Tales" with a post-9/11 backdrop. Texas gets nuked. "Southland Tales" is an alternative history of contemporary America. The sci-fi this time seems forced(like M. Night Shylaman, who feels pressured to come up with twist endings), an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle a second-time around, when a pared-down "Southland Tales" might've worked beautifully as a straight-up political satire about our lives during wartime. The neo-Marxist group resembles a twenty-first century version of the Weather Underground, or, because the group seems to be largely composed of females, "Southland Tales" might be making a reference to the militant feminist movement that's rendered in Lizzie Borden's "Born in Flames"("Southland Tales" has the look of "Strange Days", and Katherine Bigelow was a "newspaper editor" in that cinematic manifesto of female empowerment), but with a difference: Cyndi Pinziki(Nora Dunn) is an adult-film director and Krysta Now(Sarah Michelle Gellar, a porn star; which acknowledges the fluid nature of feminist ideology. "Southland Tales" is very smart about how porn has infiltrated the mainstream. As for the sci-fi elements, the filmmaker's use of dopplegangers and California as a post-nuclear setting, calls forth to mind novelist Kim Stanley Robinson's "The Wild Shore". The final fifteen minutes of "Southland Tales" while undeniably beautiful, doesn't really make a lick of sense. This filmmaker could've gone the Peter Bogdonavich route and delivered a safe follow-up, akin to "Daisy Miller"(the film that preceeded this adaptation of the Henry James novel was, of course, "The Last Picture Show"), but instead, he threw down the gauntlet and made this rambling mess of a picture, which begs to be loved and hated in equal measures. Expand
  8. DathanL.
    Mar 27, 2008
    9
    It's brilliant! As though Warhol and Jelinek had a child with AAD
  9. TimL.
    Mar 9, 2008
    10
    Outstanding. Alternately corny and profound, this movie's talents run the gamut from the weirdness of Terry Gilliam to the surreality of David Lynch to the overwrought sardonic tongue of Paul Verhoeven to the gleeful indulgence of Katherine Bigelow. Easily the most engrossing, entertaining, fearless, and unorthodox films I've seen in the last decade. I'm looking forward to Outstanding. Alternately corny and profound, this movie's talents run the gamut from the weirdness of Terry Gilliam to the surreality of David Lynch to the overwrought sardonic tongue of Paul Verhoeven to the gleeful indulgence of Katherine Bigelow. Easily the most engrossing, entertaining, fearless, and unorthodox films I've seen in the last decade. I'm looking forward to watching this about a dozen times and peeling back the layers. A blockbuster this is not; this movie begs to be chewed on for a while, and from where I sit, it tastes wonderful. Expand
  10. DavidB
    Jun 30, 2009
    9
    I think the problem with this movie has so much to say. I was (for loss of a better word) intoxicated by Richard Kelly's work. Its twisted views and the imaginative storyline made for an overall thrilling experience. The soundtrack was near perfect and the powerful performances by Dwane Johnson, Justin timberlake and Seann william scott completely changed my views of all three, In a I think the problem with this movie has so much to say. I was (for loss of a better word) intoxicated by Richard Kelly's work. Its twisted views and the imaginative storyline made for an overall thrilling experience. The soundtrack was near perfect and the powerful performances by Dwane Johnson, Justin timberlake and Seann william scott completely changed my views of all three, In a wonderful way. The ending was absolutely epic and If you didn't watch the entire film, you definitely missed out. I will admit that some of the actors did not fit there roles but in a way made the movie fun in a whole new way. In conclusion, this is one of the most imaginative and crazy movie experiences ever, and I loved (almost) every second of it! Expand
  11. RohanH.
    Nov 14, 2007
    9
    I saw this in Cannes a year ago. It got slammed. But it totally rocked. Great example of a young filmmaker taking tonnes of risks and like Coppala did with Apocalypse now diving deep into the abyss. Formally inventive, great music and hilarious the mess is awesome.
  12. HugoS.
    Nov 15, 2007
    10
    Very thoughtful a messy inspired look at the future, and VERY original.
  13. AlexR.
    Nov 20, 2007
    8
    It's easily the funniest movie I've seen all year, a send up of Los Angeles movies (they're a genre), action movies, sci-fi movies, porn, and good old fashioned moral conservative hypocrisy (I love the tanks with Hustler logos). It's overwhelming, sure, and I can't explain the plot in a million years, but it had more ideas in it than all the other movies in the It's easily the funniest movie I've seen all year, a send up of Los Angeles movies (they're a genre), action movies, sci-fi movies, porn, and good old fashioned moral conservative hypocrisy (I love the tanks with Hustler logos). It's overwhelming, sure, and I can't explain the plot in a million years, but it had more ideas in it than all the other movies in the multiplex combined. Expand
  14. TonyJ.
    Mar 18, 2008
    10
    A truckload of taboos brought up in the most creative, twisted and natural light. There is absolutely no other film that will jerk your mind off like this.
  15. AndreasS.
    Mar 21, 2008
    10
    One of the best movies I have ever seen. A huge rollercoaster of happenings. A real masterpiece.
  16. AndyP.
    Mar 21, 2008
    10
    Unbelieveable good. A masterpiece.
  17. EagleEyeArcher
    Sep 25, 2009
    9
    Southland Tales detractors seem to be stuck on trying to fit films into neat categories. I like anything that challenges our ideas about what a movie should be. Kelly has nothing to apologize for and I'm happy to see Goldwyn and Sony had the balls to finance it. I'm tired of Pirates of the Carribean.
  18. DrewF
    Mar 25, 2010
    9
    Richard Kelly is ballsy. Holy smokes. On paper this looks like the biggest mess of a film that you will ever see. In execution it is a beautiful, wonderful mess.. A true work of pure cinematic genius. This is how the world ends. And nobody rocks it like Richard Kelly.
  19. MollyD.
    Nov 16, 2007
    9
    Southland Tales is great movie and a wild ride. There are lots of laughs, a fantastic musical number, and a beautifully sad moment at the close that forgives us all for the mess we've made of our world. Excellent!
  20. ChristianE.
    Nov 18, 2007
    10
    It is, certainly, a movie that can easely make no sense at all. But if you are willing to think about what you just have seen and if you have REALLY payed attention, you will find many complex theories that actually make sense, but probably won't be the correct one until some more story notes are released. Nevertheless, the mind exercise that it can trigger on you is higlhy enjoyable.
  21. DouglasH.
    Jan 14, 2008
    10
    I can't remember the last time that a film generated such a dramatic rift within the critical community. I guess Kelly must have struck a nerve somewhere. Anyway, if your concept of cinema is circumscribed by the notion that a film must first be good in order to be great, then I'm guessing you'll hate this. On the other hand, if you're willing to concede that sometimes I can't remember the last time that a film generated such a dramatic rift within the critical community. I guess Kelly must have struck a nerve somewhere. Anyway, if your concept of cinema is circumscribed by the notion that a film must first be good in order to be great, then I'm guessing you'll hate this. On the other hand, if you're willing to concede that sometimes a film can be downright awful as measured by all prevailing standards of reason and aesthetics, but (god only knows how) still achieve a measure of greatness in spite of itself, then Southland Tales is probably worth your consideration. Sure. It's self-indulgent to the point of solipsism, but so is the postmodern hyper-capitalist anti-culture it seeks to parody. For my money, it's the most challenging North American film released in 2007. And given the spate of exceptional films American directors turned out last year, that's really saying something. Expand
  22. BartC.
    Jun 21, 2008
    9
    Richard Kelly is good at what he does hands down. He is easily climbing to the top when it comes to young and unique directors. Southland Tales is no exception. It is hard to view this film once and completely understand the choices Kelly made. The whole film is clearly not meant to be taken seriously or to have a plot that needs to be analyzed. Kelly knows what he is doing and is doing Richard Kelly is good at what he does hands down. He is easily climbing to the top when it comes to young and unique directors. Southland Tales is no exception. It is hard to view this film once and completely understand the choices Kelly made. The whole film is clearly not meant to be taken seriously or to have a plot that needs to be analyzed. Kelly knows what he is doing and is doing it for a reason or a higher meaning. Most underrated film of the last decade. Expand
  23. AliasX
    Nov 10, 2009
    7
    You know you have to watch it. Never seen such divisive reactions to a film since Fear and Loathing. Kelly is so curiously off his own mark, which makes the movie so enrapturing. Not only are you perplexed by all the wonderful and horrible things on screen, you constantly ask yourself what he was thinking when he constructed the storyboard and sequences. Is this what he intended or has he You know you have to watch it. Never seen such divisive reactions to a film since Fear and Loathing. Kelly is so curiously off his own mark, which makes the movie so enrapturing. Not only are you perplexed by all the wonderful and horrible things on screen, you constantly ask yourself what he was thinking when he constructed the storyboard and sequences. Is this what he intended or has he collapsed under his own overambitious vision? not knowing makes this movie distinctly memorable. Expand
  24. JohnM.
    Nov 15, 2007
    7
    I've seen well made films that i didnt enjoy. ive seen poorly made films that i highly recommend. this may be the only film ive ever seen that is both.
  25. JavierD.
    Nov 16, 2007
    10
    This move was great . Great performances & plot.
  26. JenL.
    Nov 16, 2007
    9
    A great political/sci-fi/comedy/thriller/religious/musical satire of the American military-industrial-infotainment complex. The first time I saw it, I left confused. But the second time, I was blown away.
  27. May 9, 2014
    10
    One of the best movies/soundtracks you will most likely never watch or hear. It's a satire dramedy about modern America and the commercialism/control of its people. Go in with an open mind and you will enjoy the heck out of this film.
Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 26
  2. Negative: 10 out of 26
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    30
    Rarely has a picture been so self-consciously designed to be a culturally meaningful touchstone, and fallen so woefully short, as Southland Tales.
  3. 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.