Synopsis: Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in cause stress and depression for many people. Some of them, however, explode. This is a movie about those people.
Release Date: March 20, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Argentinian writer/director Damián Szifrón has extensive experience in television (“Hermanos y detectives”) and short films (Punto muerto), so it really comes as no surprise that his latest film, Wild Tales, which is also the Argentinian submission into the best foreign language film category for the 2015 Academy Awards, is an anthology film.
Wild Tales is made up of six different segments. The first involves a group of passengers on an airplane who are quick to realize that they are not just there randomly. The second is about a waitress who recognizes one of her customers as someone with whom she holds a grudge. The third story is a tale of road rage on a desert highway. The fourth shows what happens when a man’s car is unjustly towed by the city one too many times. The fifth segment is a sobering story about a teenager who gets into a hit-and-run drunk driving accident and his father who is willing to do anything to get him out of trouble. Finally, the last story is about a newlywed bride who learns a few seedy things about her husband just a few minutes too late.
The six segments that make up Wild Tales are completely independent of each other, containing no recurring characters or situations, but they do share a common theme; all of them involve some form of revenge as a way of coping with distress, with the characters losing control of themselves in the process. Each situation is volatile in its own way, so each story unfolds and explodes differently. Because each section is different, some are bound to be better than others. The opening airplane segment is nothing short of brilliant, and the story about the man whose car keeps getting towed is another highlight. The closest thing to a dud in Wild Tales is the last segment about the newlywed couple, and it only seems to drag on because, well, it’s the last segment. Each and every section is great in its own unique way, and there’s something to love about all of them.
There’s another thing that each tale has in common; they’re all darkly humorous. The movie is not a traditional comedy, but it’s full of the kind of laughs that make the viewer feel bad for thinking it was funny afterwards. The best way to pin down the quirky and twisted style of storytelling is to point out that Wild Tales is partially produced by Pedro Almodóvar (director of The Skin I Live In and I’m So Excited); that’s the kind of movie it is. It’s a drama, it’s a thriller, parts of it border on being a horror movie, but Wild Tales is mostly a black comedy.a very black comedy. And a very good very black comedy.
Because the casts and locations change for each story, the credit for the coherency and singularity in Wild Tales goes to director Damián Szifrón. Szifrón treats each segment as its own short story in a collection of works, so that the tone and style remain constant while the stories and situations change. Whether it’s through attentive casting or skillful direction, Szifrón is able to get consistently melodramatic performances out of his actors, and this goes a long way towards keeping the tone of the film light, especially when the content gets grim. The segments flow together effortlessly, both thematically and visually. It’s such a seamless film that the viewer almost expects a deus ex machina at the end to be introduced that will tie all of the stories together (spoiler alert – it never comes). Basically, Szifrón puts together an extremely well-crafted anthology film in Wild Tales, but that’s all it is: an anthology film. The stories share themes and ideas, but they are all separate entities with no deeper connection. And it’s perfectly fine that way – that’s Damián Szifrón’s vision, and he executes it well.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Damián Szifron
- Producer(s): Pedro AlmodóvarAgustin AlmodóvarEsther GarciaMatias MosteirinHugo Sigman
- Screenwriter(s): Damián Szifron
- Cast: Dario GrandinettiMaria MarullMónica Villa Rita CorteseJulieta ZylberbergCésar BordónLeonardo SbaragliaWalter DonadoRicardo DarinNancy DupláaOscar MartinezMaria Onetto
- Editor(s): Pablo Barbieri Carrera
- Cinematographer: Javier Julia
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Ruth Fischerman
- Casting Director(s): Javier Braier
- Music Score: Gustavo Santaolalla
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: Argentina