Six remarkably compelling stories in one, these are imaginative and colourful tales about people caught up in seemingly normal situations until something unexpected happens. Wild Tales concerns inequality, injustice and stress.
#1 A model is flying on an aircraft when she is hit upon by a music critic, who discovers they have something in common that dates back many years. Suddenly they and others on the plane are all in danger.
#2 It’s a wet night and the waitress’s only customer is a man she recognises from her past. He is a loan shark and a gangster who terrorised and ruined her family. The waitress tells the chef, who suggests putting rat poison into his food.
#3 A driver in a new car on the open road in the middle of nowhere is hampered by a redneck in a beaten up utility who is crawling along the highway and weaving from side to side. As he finally passes the dude at speed, he winds down the window and hurls abuse his way, but little does he know the consequences of his actions.
#4 A construction worker has just completed a successful demolition and is reminded by his wife to be home on time to celebrate their daughter’s birthday. He has full intentions of being there, even picking up a special cake for the occasion, but that is when things start to go horribly wrong. His car is towed in circumstances he considers mighty unjust, but when the towing company won’t listen to reason he takes matters into his own hands, with significant ramifications.
#5 A kid from a rich family hits a pregnant woman in his father’s car and then leaves the scene of the accident. His father, together with his father’s lawyer, hatch a plan for someone else to take the blame.
#6 A guy and a girl are in love and it’s their wedding day with assembled family and guests all out to enjoy the occasion. Not the best time then for the bride to find out her new husband has cheated on her. Boy, does she let him have it with all barrels in a withering display of pique.
These tales sprang from the most unrestrained corners of writer/director Damián Szifron’s imagination. While he was working to develop other projects – often dispirited by the fact that they were impossible to realise – he began writing a series of short stories to vent his frustrations. They were all about catharsis, vengeance and destruction … and the undeniable pleasure of losing control.
The Argentinean filmmaker has woven a rich and compelling tapestry, creating high drama – in fact better described as melodrama. Best of all are the twists within the plots of each story. You may pick some but certainly not others. As this remark suggests, Szifron has the ability to surprise and does so frequently in Wild Tales, which is all the better because of it. In fact, you just go “wow”. The six stories are beautifully bookended with two of the most audacious tales in his repertoire. The time passes quickly, which is a sure sign you are enjoying yourself.
I can probably best describe the offering as a series of fractured fairytales from a man with an extremely vivid imagination. I applaud not only his originality – which would do both Pedro Almoldovar (who also happens to be one of the producers of this movie) and Quentin Tarantino proud – but his tenacity in bringing it to the screen.
Rated MA, Wild Tales scores an 8 to 8½ out of 10.
Director: Damián Szifrón
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Liliana Ackerman, Luis Manuel Altamirano Garcia and Alejandro Angelini
Release Date: 21 May 2015
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television