Was it shot in the darko?
SOUTHLAND TALES Directed by Richard Kelly. Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore, Justin Timberlake, Bai Ling, Christopher Lambert, Kevin Smith 16 cert, Cineworld, Dublin, 160 min
FOR ALL the abundant delights provided by Richard Kelly’s fine Donnie Darko, there remained a suspicion that the film was the work of a young man who had yet to escape adolescence. A glance at the extravagantly unhinged Southland Tales, radically reorganised since its disastrous screening at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, only serves to confirm those early reservations.
Dealing in a breathtakingly naive school of slogan-led dissent, Southland Tales plays like an extended denunciation of The Man by an only modestly bright teenager. One hears the sound of a bedroom door being sulkily slammed throughout.
It is hard to imagine anybody else over the age of 15 coming up with this intertwining farrago of plots. It is the summer of 2008 and, following the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Texas, the US finds itself at war with just about everyone. Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, her running mate, are trailing in the polls, while a duo of slavering Republican psychopaths, assisted by various fascist masterminds, profit from the country’s growing paranoia.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson turns up as a movie star with connections to the GOP candidate. Two versions of Seann William Scott – two too many, you might argue – knock around. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a porn actor with ambitions in other areas. There’s some business about a Zeppelin and a lot to do with rifts in space-time continuums.
As you may have gathered, Southland Tales buzzes with the garish, incoherent indiscipline of a later film by Wim Wenders or Jean-Luc Godard. However, it took both those directors two decades to go completely insane, while Kelly seems to have managed the transformation in about a tenth the time.
Mind you, for all young Richard’s affected eccentricity, the choice of rock music speaks of a taste for the bleeding obvious. There are, I suppose, some people who still think Blur, The Killers and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are challengingly hip. People such as Jeremy Clarkson, for example.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Seann William Scott in