With our eyes glued to the news, wondering who will be the next leader of the United States, I was reminded of the many filmmakers that have tried to tackle the anxiety and fear of election season.
In 2006, filmmaker Richard Kelly released his sophomore feature titled “Southland Tales.” The film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake and Mandy Moore. On the film’s surface, it is about an action star named Boxer Santuros, who is stricken with amnesia. He teams up with a woman named Krystal and a police officer named Roland Tavern, and they all further explore the government’s secrets and try to prevent the election of 2008 between T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost. However, as the film progresses it morphs into a kind of war film between Marxist and Neo-Marxist movements and the captistilist America, while also being a satire on the unknowing climate of the government. Trust me, it is a lot more entertaining than it sounds.
This film is a masterpiece in my opinion, it tackles its subject very maturely while also being very nihilistic and almost in your face. Sure, the plot seems nonsensical, outlandish and messy, but that is the point, it portrays an honest and real display of modern America in the technological era. The world building is vast and cultured, and begs for the audience to learn more about it. The writing acts as Richard Kelly’s “Star Wars”; a large, vast and almost weird story, but something to which everyone can connect. It is wild, and oftentimes plays as a satirical dark comedy of corporate America and how greedy the government can be. The acting is very solid all around, especially from Sarah Michelle Gellar. The directing is all over the place, but it is trying to cover multiple storylines at once. This film captures the heightened intensity of election season and how many people are divided in their social and political views on the world. Many critics often hail this as a mess of a film, but I consider this to be one of my all time favorites and a film more relevant now than ever. “Southland Tales” speaks volumes on capitalist and corporate America, and how we must think before we act. This film acts as a government conspiracy theorist’s holy bible, as it uncovers the secrets and shadiness of the very government that protects us.