Southland Tales review 35 of 52.


This week’s review is brought to you by procrastination.

If you’re following along you know I’ve been pretty busy over the past couple months, leaving me small widows of time to fit in my weekly viewing and review of Southland Tales.

I had all week to plan for the review you're reading right now, but here we are; Tuesday, hours before my deadline and I've finally figured out my game plan.

I viewed Southland Tales on Monday October 14th at 12:30 in the pm.

The movie ended and I had no clue what I was going to write about, so I sat there… and sat there… and napped… then returned to just sitting there staring at my computer waiting for inspiration to strike… that moment never came.

I wish I could say in the middle of the night as I twisted and turned trying to figure out this riddle, BAM, genius struck.


Instead I just went to the IMDB looked up Richard Kelly and decided I would have yet another Richard Kelly marathon!!!

So, I rented the movie Domino. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, being that Richard Kelly is the screenwriter, shares a story by credit, and was not the director, I was intrigued how much of the Donnie Darko Mythos would appear in this movie.

I guess it’s not a marathon if the viewings are 24 hours apart, but who’s counting.

At 12:30 in the pm on Tuesday October 15 I fired up Domino and was pleasantly surprised.

Going into I was a little scared, the poster image made me fear that this would be more of a standard action film, pushing the limits of graphic violence with overly choreographed fight scenes. I’m not really a fan of the action/adventure genre.

This movie however is a great character driven story that manages to keep you interested in the entire ensemble of characters who are all involved in creating a great story.

I was a little disappointed that there didn’t seem to be any intentional links between Domino and Donnie Darko, or Southland Tales, but I really liked this movie..

It did feel like this movie could take place in the reality set up in Southland Tales, maybe some time post 9/11 but pre El Paso/Abilene bombing of 7/4/05.

Here are the similarities that I found between Domino and Southland Tales.

  • Lots of voiceover. Some say voiceover is a bit of a cheat to get around the whole show don’t tell rule, but I’m a fan of voiceover, especially when you are getting into the characters head so we get to see how they think.
  • An eclectic cast of, “Woe it’s that person,” actors.  
  • All of the sudden we find ourselves in a music video in both worlds.
  • Both movies deal with pop culture infiltrating our day to day lives. This is why I think Domino share the same reality as Southland Tales only earlier in time. In Domino the focus is more on pop culture growing out of control than on politics. Southland Tales is more of a satire on politics and pop culture, but the way the pop culture and escalation of political corruption evolves between Domino and Southland Tales seem very nature.
  • The use of the DMV made me think of the beginning stages of USIdent. 
  • The sex offenders in Domino warns of horniness, which Krysta Now defends as, “Not a crime,” in Southland Tales.
  • In the Southland Tales prequel material there is reference to a magical baby that is briefly mentioned in Southland Tales, this is the baby who doesn’t have bowel movements. This baby is treated like the second coming. In Domino there is a sick baby that may or may not be magical, but is an urgent piece to the puzzle of the story.
  • In the end of the movie there is a coin tosses that determines Domino’s fate. A figurative coin toss that is, making life and death more of a mystery that is out of our hands. Being that the hero always dies at the end of a Richard Kelly film I wonder if he had two endings written and the 50/50 shot of life or death was handed over to Tony Scott to decide.
  • There are a couple more style choices, themes, and what not that in both movies that are similar. This similarity felt like it was from the same writer working through similar issues with different characters, rather than an addition to the Richard Kelly mythos. It feels to me like Richard Kelly wrote a script that allowed Tony Scott to get into the Southland Tales world, look around and share what he saw through his perspective.

It would be interesting to what would be made if Richard Kelly directed a version of Domino that followed one of the other characters, where Domino was more of the sidekick than the hero.

If anyone reads this that can make this happen could you please hurry?

I'm desperately running out of things to write about. 

We'll see what happens next week! 

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.