James Healey’s review published on Letterboxd:
I saw the original cut four years ago. Today I saw the Cannes cut and I can’t imagine how 20-30 minutes was cut because this felt like it should have been at LEAST five hours long.
This is a film that truly did need 10 years to be appreciated. A film about a screenplay predicting events in a post-9/11 world ended up being extreme satirization of current state of affairs ten years early. The only piece of art I’ve seen from this century with that much foresight is Metal Gear Solid 2 (the greatest game of all time). I find it hilarious how some people call this an extreme leftist film when it’s completely unmoored from any ideology. This is anti-corporate, anti-government, portrays neo-cons as corrupt, neo-marxists as idiots, condemns degeneracy, and in the end everyone gets their just desserts.
One of the things I appreciate most about Southland Tales is Richard Kelly purposely casting underappreciated actors including The Rock as the lead who’s now turned into arguably the biggest A-Lister out there. Southland Tales is proof that many “bad/mediocre” actors really aren’t, they just need the right director. A bigger testament to this is how masterfully you have this super layerd film with so much going on in both the text and set design talking serious matters but you still have tons of crazy lines ALL THROUGHOUT THE FILM like “pimps do NOT commit suicide” or “teen horiness is not a crime” and it just WORKS still creating this incredibly smart and moving yet absurdist satire.
I think for me this viewing of Southland Tales cements 2006 as the most important year in film yet this century. Miami Vice, Inland Empire, and Southland Tales. Three of the greatest films ever made all appearing at the dawn of the digital revolution that were each a decade ahead of their time. They’re all one of a kind with nothing coming close (except Blackhat for Miami Vice which barely counts since they’re both Mann films) that will only gain more love and respect as time goes on.