Nikolai Efimov’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a terrible, awful movie, a pointless waste of time and resources. I believe this is not a matter of taste. If you disagree, it's not because you're a dupe, it's because you've been conned by a master con man. After seeing 'Donnie Darko,' I went over it with an electron microscope to figure out what went over my head, waiting expectantly for the missing piece to fall into place so I could make sense out of this film that was obviously so much smarter than me. Then I discovered the film made no sense at all, even internally, and was very let down.
The popularity of that excellent albeit fatally flawed film has apparently given Richard Kelly license to fuck off to Pluto and never come back. Every line in 'Southland Tales' is a non-sequitor, the plot sits dead in the water for one hundred and eighty four fucking minutes, no character's motivations are explicable or consistent, and we're constantly bombarded with modern media buzzwords without one iota of meaning or understanding behind them. The only comprehension Richard Kelly has of the issues facing our modern world is how to spell them. He had to know that much to write them awkwardly into his bloated screenplay from hell, and yet I see people everywhere comparing this inexcusable thing to David Lynch, or Godard. That's because what Richard Kelly does better than any man alive is pretend to be intelligent, and in response, his fans try their best to pretend to understand him. But it's a shell game. You keep giving Kelly minutes and hours of your life, confident that NEXT time, SURELY you'll pick the cup with the ball under it, but there's no God Damned ball.
Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe I just have to read the three-volume graphic novel prologue, or seek out the ACTUALLY SOMEHOW EVEN LONGER Cannes cut, all the while watching the seconds of my life tick away, one by one. But on a more positive note, Dwayne Johnson is doing his absolute best, and the soundtrack is great!