Was it shot in the darko?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

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

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