Why limit yourself to telling one story when you can tell six for the price of one? With that mission in mind, director Damián Szifrón has brought together a sextet of brilliant, barmy tales that pack in more invention, laughs and cathartic violence than any number of blockbusters combined.
The hysterically over-the-top anthology of short episodes that comprise Wild Tales feature a collection of diverse characters being pushed to their limits and spectacularly losing control by getting back in touch with their primal urges to survive and thrive by any means necessary. The disparate stories are only linked by their themes, as Szifrón forgets any Pulp Fiction-style interconnectedness and instead offers six completely separate, but totally satisfying dishes of revenge.
In a pre-credits sequence, a model catches a flight only to realise that all of the passengers on board have something in common. Then comes the tale of a waitress who is faced with a moral dilemma when the man responsible for the suicide of her father comes into her restaurant. Next up is the wonderfully violent encounter between a white collar driver who overtakes and abuses a redneck only to find himself stuck with a flat tyre further along the deserted highway. In the fourth story, a demolition expert has a run in with the authorities over a parking ticket, and in the fifth, a wealthy teen commits a hit and run, leaving his father to try and get him out of facing the consequences. Finally, and possibly wildest of all, a bride finds out on her wedding day that her new husband has been having an affair with one of the guests.
Anthologies, with their miniature stories and lack of an overall arc, can be unsatisfying. A subtitled one from Argentina sounds downright daunting. But any misgivings you may have about finding a copy of Wild Tales should be instantly dismissed. Szifrón has made an absolutely wild ride from start to finish and this Oscar nominee is an absolute must-see. Though sharing no characters or locations across stories, Wild Tales provides a surprisingly cohesive experience with its central theme offering a series of people pushed to their limits. It’s an absolute joy to watch them all explode, and best of all, with six short stories, you’re never far away from a vicious punch line or glorious outburst of violence.
With so many stories on offer, the writing is consistently witty, with incredibly well drawn characters set up in a matter of minutes. There are laugh out loud lines delivered by a wonderful cast, all just itching to get to the hysterical OTT payoffs. Obviously, some stories work better than others, but each has their own delicious and unique moments to savour. The opening episode on the plane is still brilliant, despite its laughs being sadly tainted by a recent true life tragedy. Each episode has an acerbic ending that will leave you giggling, even as Szifrón lines up his next surprise. The duel between the two men on the deserted road is one of the funniest scenes of the year so far; brutal, hilarious and continuously inventive. Similarly Wild Tales goes out with one hell of a bang with one of the best wedding receptions ever filmed.
From deep down in all this primal rage, heroes manage to emerge; the bride on her wedding night, the demolitions expert and even both men who fight by the roadside while their lives are in increasing danger. Many of these characters will make you want to cheer, but save the biggest applause for Szifrón whose marshalling of the performances, the music and the cinematography is perfect. Wild Tales may not get ten out of ten for all of its stories, but with its dazzling direction and audacious storytelling, it is clearly the work of an exciting cinematic genius.
Extras include a chat with the director and a short making of that reveal little except how much everyone involved thinks of the mastermind behind all of this madness, director Damián Szifrón.
Special Features: Interview with Damián Szifrón / Making of
INFO: WILD TALES / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DAMIÁN SZIFRÓN / STARRING: DARIO GRANDINETTI, MARIA MARULL, MONICA VILLA, RITA CORTESE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW