Southland Tales ★★

I've spent the last half hour trying to work out what I'm going to put down here and that's because Southland Tales is an absolute mess. This is a film that came out in the same year as Inland Empire, the most baffling film from king of befuddlement David Lynch, and I think it's worth trying to understand why I love Inland but I don't love Southland. Both are as confusing as they are sprawling, feature similarly haunting scores and weirdly, both have a musical sequence in the centre of their lengthy runtimes. Do I just love Inland Empire because it's David Lynch? Maybe I love it more than it deserves because of that but there's more than that.
As Southland Tales pushes forward, through its perplexing plotting, I did start to get the feeling of a David Lynch imitator. See, David Lynch films are like being blindfolded on a rollercoaster; you don't know where you're going but you trust the experience and just go with it. Southland Tales feels like it tried to replicate that by putting on that blindfold and shoving you in a rickety cart towards a large cliff. It all feels like cheap imitation. The score is unavoidably evocative of Angelo Badalamenti, the obsession with LA identity is near parodic and I laughed out loud when Rebekah Del Rio was brought out onto a stage. And that is where I find myself with the film. It isn't without sensation and I rarely found myself bored but whereas Lynch's films marinate in my brain after, the more I think and read about Southland Tales, the more I think it's utter bollocks.
Fuck, maybe that should have just been the review: utter bollocks that rarely bored me.

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