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Southland Tales


Richard Kelly, the writer/director of 2001's Donnie Darko, is back with his second, four-years-in-the-making film project. And boy oh boy, is it out there.

If you've seen Donnie Darko, you'll never forget it. It's a strange story about a mentally unstable high schooler whose imaginary friend—a rabbit named Frank—predicts the end of the world. I, for one, loved it, but I certainly couldn't blame anyone for not relating to the troublesome storyline. Well, this time Kelly has written a satire-sci-fi-drama set in the not-so-distant future of July 2008. (He also called the film a comedy, but I was hard-pressed to find anything funny in it.)

Succinctly summarizing this film is not an easy task. America is dealing with a post-WWIII clash between ultra-liberal factions and a conservative government. An Iraq War veteran (Justin Timberlake) narrates the stories of a famous actor (Duane "The Rock" Johnson) and porn star (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who write a screenplay about the world's end, an amnesiac cop (Seann William Scott) looking for his twin brother, and a European scientist (Wallace Shawn) who's discovered a new energy source.

If you're somehow able to sift through all the bizarre imagery and plot twists—and if you are, tell me how—then you could find the parallels to our modern world pretty enlightening and disturbing. By swirling together political commentary and 100 percent out-there science-fiction, Kelly has made a unique film, but it's so unique you may not understand anything that went on until you watch the DVD special features.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.