What You Need To Know:
SOUTHLAND TALES uses the apocalypse described in the Book of Revelation as its starting point, but any resemblance to biblical truth ends there. The movie’s worldview is a New Age pagan mishmash with little common sense, and no proper theology. The problem is, the writer and director throws in too many bizarre ideas and strange characters, plus lots of strong foul language, crude sexual content and some strong violence. The result is scattered political and spiritual confusion, with no coherent clarity or redemptive morality.
(PaPaPa, C, CoCoCo, PCPC, Acap, AP, AbAb, RH, LLL, VV, SS, N, A, DD, MMM) Very strong, but often confused, syncretistic New Age pagan worldview with some references to Christianity and the Bible in an apocalyptic tale but no discernible biblical theology, plus very strong references to Marxist terrorists but movie seems ambivalent toward them, and some strong but confused politically correct content, including capitalist seems to be funding Marxists, some confused anti-Bush implications and rhetoric with a politically correct view that civil liberties are being eroded, at least two anti-Christian comments, and porn star complains about sexual repression and promotes sexual promiscuity, including making a nasty revisionist history attack on the Christian Pilgrims (but the woman’s a mindless porn star, so how serious are we to take her ignorant comments?); at least 104 obscenities, two strong profanities and three light profanities; strong violence with some blood includes shootout, pointblank shootings, explosion, and vehicles crashing; strong sexual content includes implied fornication and adultery, plus crude sexual comments and suggestive dancing; upper male nudity and female cleavage; alcohol use; smoking and drug use; and, kidnapping, lying, terrorism, promotion of promiscuity, and general moral, political, philosophical, biblical, and theological confusion with many themes and motifs left vague.
The title of this movie doesn’t begin to describe the bizarre story contained within it. Like the story, the characters and the themes, the title makes little sense.
Set in an alternate history occurring between 2005 and New Year’s Eve 2007, the story is an apocalyptic tale about a goofy capitalist, a movie star with amnesia kidnapped by Marxist-Leninist terrorists, a Republican running for president and his wife who heads up a secret spy agency, a policeman searching for his doppelganger twin, a singing drug dealer, a female porn star with her own Cable TV talk show, and the End of the World. The movie star, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is the husband of the presidential candidate’s daughter. Their fates all converge at the unveiling of a huge zeppelin powered by the capitalist’s new energy source.
SOUTHLAND TALES uses the apocalypse described in the Book of Revelation as its starting point, but any resemblance to biblical truth ends there. The movie’s worldview otherwise is a New Age pagan mishmash with little moral sense or common sense. The funniest, most clever jokes are a couple arcane allusions to the work of Philip K. Dick, which this movie unsuccessfully tries to emulate. The problem is, writer and director Richard Kelly throws too many things into his story without rhyme or reason. Thus, the text seems dense, and it is, but the overall result is scattered confusion, not coherent clarity.
The movie also contains lots of strong foul language, crude sexual content and very strong violence.
When all is said and done, SOUTHLAND TALES is not worthy of being deciphered, even if this bizarre puzzle could be put together by someone. That is not true of the movie’s artistic hero, Philip K. Dick, who, in his more lucid ad provocative moments, is worth contemplating perhaps.