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Southland Tales Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… bugged-out piece of insanity … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Ray Bennett

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    An ambitious hodgepodge that is all bang and bluster.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    To be clear: The odds are in favor of you hating it. I hated a lot of it when I saw a barely dry work-in-progress print, 163 minutes long, at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s 19 minutes shorter and better now, though “better” is relative when you’re dealing with a whatzahoozy such as this.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Southland Tales has a mood unlike anything I've seen: dread that morphs into kitsch and then back again. It's a film that tried my patience, and one I couldn't shake off.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Apocalyptic thriller is a strange, violent mess.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens might be interested in this odd sci-fi dramedy from the director of Donnie Darko thanks to stars like Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Rock, and Seann William Scott. But it's gory, profane, and definitely not for kids. Guns are drawn (and shot) repeatedly, one female lead is a porn star (she and her compatriots are scantily clad, though never actually nude), and the world appears to be falling apart (as evidenced by explosions, drinking, drug use, and more). Language is strong and frequent, including "f--k," "s--t," and many more. All in all, it's a confused, chaotic, adults-only mess (albeit with some impressive cinematography and decent pacing).

  • Families can talk about why Hollywood is enamored with apocalyptic scenarios and political conspiracies. What kind of statement is the filmmaker trying to make in this move? How has he been influenced by present-day politics? Do you think the future will really be as dreary as he sees it?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Nearly everyone behaves badly -- cheating, lying, stealing, and killing. Some racial epithets are used. That said, Gellar and Johnson's characters appear to have hearts of gold.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Unrelenting. It starts with a bomb going off and includes many shootings (some up close), a hit and run, a soldier running around with one eye shot out, and a massive climactic explosion.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Scantily clad female porn stars prance around and frankly discuss world affairs and their business. A married man hooks up with one of them (no outright nudity). Another woman, also scantily clad, French-kisses her boss. A car is shown copulating with another vehicle (yes, you read that right).

  • language false5

    Language: You name it, they say it (and frequently, too): "s--t," "a--hole," "c--k," "dick," and the ubiquitous "f--k."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Lots of brands and products -- though, for the most part, they're not real ones. For example, the logo of fictional government agency USIDent is constantly flashed onscreen; a TV channel, a la CNN, becomes part of the storytelling; and a carmaker's commercial runs repeatedly.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Southland residents shoot up at a moment's notice using mechanized syringes. There's tons of drinking, and, in the end, the streets are riddled with inebriated people.