Southland Tales ★★★

Southland Tales is trying to position itself as some kind of lyrical and poetic sci-fi ensemble satire, which is all well and fine except that it's written by an idiot and results in one of the most baffling and unique films I have ever seen. It's set in a dystopian 2008 and features the talents of Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Justin Timberlake all playing against type amongst an enormously sprawling cast.

There simply is no describing this movie to the uninitiated, it really should be experienced for yourself. The plot is so convoluted and arcane and the attitude of the film is so gloriously mid 2000s and extremely trashy even when it's clear that some elements are being satirized. Southland Tales features moments where a woman threatens Dwayne Johnson that she will kill herself unless she can suck his dick and Justin Timberlake's entire presence in the film is whispered Malick-esque narration until his only real physically present scene in the movie suddenly becomes a glorious music video. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I think the madness and incoherence of Southland Tales does deserve some credit in the end, because despite all of the problems it almost succeeds. Almost. At times I was almost convinced that Southland Tales really was the masterpiece that some will claim. This is certainly Dwayne Johnson's most iconoclastic role, if that counts for anything. Ultimately I don't think it really works, but this is a film that I would recommend solely on the basis of "you need to see this" just because of how odd it is.

And pimps don't commit suicide. That is all.

Erik [Auk] liked these reviews