"This is the way the world ends. Not with a whimper... but with a bang."Southland Tales is a 2007 Science Fiction/Black Comedy film from director Richard Kelly, the follow-up to his 2001 cult hit Donnie Darko. While planned as a mainstream breakthrough, things didn't really pan out that way. The combination of a large budget and Sony's decision to shelve the film after lackluster showings in a handful of cities means that it's not likely to show profit for years to come. Nonetheless, ST did make some critics' year's best lists and has found a modest cult on DVD.The plot is difficult to summarize, and considered intensely nonsensical by many, but here's a thumbnail version. After a nuclear attack in Texas, the government has taken a more authoritarian role. There are several interlaced conspiracies for and against it, with the constantly infighting Neo-Marxists being the most notable opposition group. A dandyish scientist (Wallace Shawn) who has developed a way of deriving energy from ocean current seems to have a hand in everything. And oh yeah, all of time and space seem to be on the edge of self-destruction. It really, really helps if you are at least passingly familiar with the Book of Revelation.Imagine if you will Mulholland Drive mixed with Armageddon. Or an American AKIRA that manages to match the imagination and multiply the incomprehensibilty.The cast is led by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott and narrator Justin Timberlake. Many of the secondary roles are filled by comedians, and specifically Saturday Night Live veterans.
—Paraphrased from a poem by T.S. Elliot
Southland Tales contains examples of:
Pilot Abiliene: They say the path down the road not taken concludes with a stairway to heaven. The gates would not open for another three days, and Boxer Santaros was searching for the key.