So, Richard Donnie Darko Kelly. One-horse trick. The evidence? Firstly I endured the Kelly-scribed Domino, which could have been a fun, exciting film, but ended up a bleached out, bloated beached whale of a Smokin’ Aces rip-off. I mean, posh rich English girl-turned-LA bounty hunter and junkie should be a no-brainer hit, right? Um, well, no. Having Keira Knightley shoot guns, smoke cigarettes and wear delicately applied facial grime is not exactly in-depth characterisation, but we can let that slide, because an armed, nicotine-stained angel with a dirty face gives good widescreen. Stealing the out-of-their-depth soap actor subplot from Go is forgivable, because it is at least done with vim. Wasting Christopher Walken in an over-edited bit-part, that’s no sweat, because it’s Christopher Walken, and you’re used to that, and besides, even Christopher Walken has bills to pay, nobody’s begrudging anybody on that count. No, the problem is when you stitch all these together, along with creditable supporting roles, cameos from the likes of Macy Gray, severed limbs and saddle-faced Micky Rourke, and still manage to make something that is boring. Sure, director Tony Scott has to own up to his share of the blame, but TBH it looks pretty enough, it’s just got no soul, no sense, and no feeling.
And then Southland Tales, Kelly’s cross-media near future/alternate present satire. Except it’s not funny for the most part, its meandering and dull, there’s shonky fx, it’s just redundant frames flashing over light, an idling engine putt-putt-putting its way to the end credits. Energy crisis, war on terror, police state, blah blah blah.
There are some nice bits – Justin Timberlake’s musical number, and the intro, and Jon Lovitz’s homicidal cop, and Dwayne Johnson’s cartoon face and nervous tics – but these do not a whole film make. It’s no Brazil, it’s no Dr Strangelove, it’s not even a Strange Days or a Screamers. It’s a pile of shit. Glossy, fragranced, immaculately presented, but still stinking of anal expulsion.
FFS, even Welcome II The Terrordome has more charm.
But, lest we forget, shit is as shit does. One of the main plotlines in Southland Tales is this war being waged in California between the cops (on behalf of their control-obsessed political overseers) and the Neo-Marxists. In this From Here To Shiternity the police raid a Neo-Marxist safehouse, where they surprise a chap in the crapper with a chestful of lead. He dies with his boots on, but his trousers remain around his ankles. May he wrist in peace.