WILD TALES (Argentina | Spain/15A/122mins)
Directed by Damián Szifrón. Starring Ricardo Darín, Erica Rivas.
THE PLOT: Writer/Director Damián Szifrón pulls six short stories together as a feature; all distressing, all funny and all about revenge…

THE VERDICT: WILD TALES is an odd sort of film, and one that is both darkly comic and utterly engrossing. The tales are of love, hatred and most of all revenge, and while some of them feel familiar at times, there is a feeling of freshness about the entire film.

The cast do well in their short roles, managing to convey a wealth of emotion and back story in a short space of time. Erica Rivas stands out as a scorned bride pushed to the limits of her sanity, Ricardo Darín is wonderful as a man who is driven to extreme measures when his car is towed, and Rita Cortese is hilarious as an unscrupulous cook.

WILD TALES has a feeling of HOLY MOTORS about it, but is not as inaccessible as some found Leos Carax’s film. There is a playfulness to the stories, and although all are incredibly dark and involve violence or death to some extent, all are completely over the top and at times, hilarious. Of course, some stories work better than others, and as a general rule, the shorter the tale is, the better it is. One story in particular feels out of pace with the tone of the rest and, as such, drags the pacing of the entire film down.

Damián Szifrón directs each story well, keeping motivations simple and clear. We learn more about some characters than others, but since this is part of the experience of the film, this doesn’t feel as though it is a fault. As mentioned, there are times when the pacing of the film suffers, due to some stories being more on tone and better paced than others, but Szifrón always manages to claw the film back as a whole, reminding audiences that life is tragic and funny.

In all, WILD TALES is an anthology of weird, violent and funny stories about revenge. The tone is perfectly off-kilter and, although some of the tales work better than others, the film as a whole is funny, well observed and just the right amount of over the top.

Review by Brogen Hayes

Wild Tales
Review by Brogen Hayes
4.0Perfectly off-kilter
  • filmbuff2011

    Recently nominated for an Oscar, but losing out to the inferior Ida, Wild Tales is a riot of a film. It could also be the most entertaining foreign language film for some time. It’s essentially an anthology film, based around six short stories of people going a bit wild and losing it. Things get off to a bumpy start (literally), when a number of passengers on a plane find out that they have something in common. The next story focuses on a waitress who decides to gain revenge on an old family acquaintance. On a dusty desert road, two drivers come to blows over a verbal insult. Then we have a family man who decides to strike back against exorbitant traffic fines. In another family story, a father tries to cover up the crime of his son by bribing everyone involved in the case. Finally, a jilted bride goes off the rails and turns her wedding into something entirely different… The timing on Wild Tales is a curious one. Given that the first story has eerie parallels with tragic, very recent events in the French Alps involving a Germanwings plane, it may make audiences shift uncomfortably in their seats. The first story is over fairly quickly though, but it sets the tone for what’s coming ahead. The delight of this film is in not knowing what’s coming ahead. All we know is that a number of characters are going to go a bit wild and behave irrationally, all out of proportion to their circumstances. Co-produced by Pedro Almodovar and written and directed by Damian Szifron, Wild Tales revels in the everyday turning into the absurd and outlandish. The problem with anthology films is that inevitably there are some weak links. There aren’t any here – each story has its own beat and character observations, each working perfectly within their own particular story bubbles. The six stories could also function as feature-length films in their own right, as they’re all so entertaining. Darkly funny at times and very involving, Wild Tales is simply a must-see film. ****