Southland Tales–take one

Once upon a time, writer-director Richard Kelly gave us the fine and sensitive Donnie Darko, a work that succeeded not only by virtue of Jake Gyllenhaal’s bravura turn in the title role, but because Kelly created believable, empathetic characters: no small accomplishment in a sci-fi thriller. What’s more, Kelly managed to build eeriness and foreboding with minimal violence. Not so in Southland Tales, his sophomore (and sophomoric) effort, a movie that places Kelly squarely in the pantheon—the pantheon of Ed Wood.

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