May 3, 2017
Southland Tales (2006) (part 2 of 10)
Before I begin describing Richard Kelly’s magnum apocalyptic mindfuck opus Southland Tales, I should confess that I don’t particularly care much for the intentionally cryptic style of filmmaking that Richard Kelly indulges in. It’s the unfortunate kind of moviemaking that film geeks consider thoughtful and brilliant, when in reality, the filmmakers are just being obtuse for no fucking reason.
That’s pretty much why I detested Donnie Darko: Basically, it’s a film that only makes sense (and just barely, at that) when you read the explanation Kelly posted on his website. That, to me, is a sign that Donnie Darko completely fails as a film.
As I’ve said before, movies should be self-contained, and obey their own internal logic, and make some sort of sense within themselves. I’m not saying I need plot points spelled out in giant neon letters, but I think there’s a big difference between subtlety, and playing coy because you think it makes you a genius.
And just like Donnie Darko, we’re supposed to have read a ton of website backstory and graphic novels to make sense of Southland Tales. And yet, even the most inexperienced writers will tell you that if you can’t fit the whole story into a movie that runs over two hours long, that might just be a sign you’re trying to stuff too many ideas into one script.