I was looking up Southland Tales on Metacritic, where it is not doing well, but a lot of the positive notices are coming from big deal places (like the NYT and the Village Voice) and basically saying it’s such a mess it’s brilliant, but honestly, most of the bad reviews made me kind of want to see it more. (Italics are mine).
Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader:
“You can’t be both political and incoherent, and even though Kelly’s models are ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ this vision of the near-future suggests a random blend of ‘Dr. No’ and ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’”
Scott Foundas of the LA Weekly:
“Southland Tales pilfers large chunks of its plot and visual style from Alex Cox’s ‘Repo Man,’ Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Strange Days’ and Shane Carruth’s Sundance-winning ‘Primer,’ and unlike the makers of those films, Kelly hasn’t digested his influences and made them his own — he’s more like the slacker college kid who’s just enough of an intellectual poseur to bluff his way to an A. That said, Southland Tales isn’t entirely without its pleasures, chiefly The Rock.”
Ray Bennett of the Hollywood Reporter:
“The English term “shambolic” best describes a slow-paced, bloated and self-indulgent picture that combines science fiction, sophomoric humor and grisly violence soaked in a music-video sensibility.”
Desson Thomson of the Washington Post:
“May be ambitious in its genre-defying abandon, sideswiping science fiction, satire, film noir and melodrama along the way, but it’s also exasperatingly convoluted, self-amused and politically sophomoric.”
I am already planning my impassioned defense.
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