Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: Wild Tales

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. 
Now, here's a film that lives up to its title. Damian Szifron's funny, disturbing and raucous Cannes Film Festival hit and Best Foreign Film nominee is a loopy, fast paced omnibus film that primarily centers on the theme of revenge.

None of the six films - all of which are directed by Szifron - are related in terms of the characters or plots, but each of them involves at least one character seeking payback and the results of frequently very funny, but more often than not pretty unsettling as well.

The story that opens the credits involves a group of strangers on a plane who find they all have something in common, while the second - which is good, but also likely the weakest - finds a waitress serving a man who ruined her life years ago.

The third entry is a violent and nearly unhinged story about an upper class man who lands himself in a mess after flipping off a bad driver on a desolate road. The story that follows is my favorite. It features Argentine star Ricardo Darin as a man on the way to his daughter's birthday party, whose life unravels after his car is unfairly towed and he is plunged into a bureaucratic nightmare that begins with the towing company, but eventually involves the DMV, divorce lawyers and the police. The finale is priceless.

The fifth story is the darkest and mostly devoid of humor. It involves a rich man whose son strikes and kills a pregnant woman while driving under the influence. The father then attempts to pay off his gardener to take the rap, but soon finds that his lawyer and the district attorney also want a piece.

Ending the film is a delirious tale of a bride and groom who find out some unfortunate details about each other at their wedding reception. Things become awkward, then violent and, finally, awkward in a different kind of way. This final story is the one that best combines the film's violent content with its off-the-wall style of humor.

Although the combined total of these six films do not add up to much more than the sum of their parts, "Wild Tales" is inventive, very well acted, visually stylish and outrageous in the best of ways. Szifron is a talent to watch and his breakthrough film will likely leave you laughing and cringing in equal measure.

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