Recently we discussed an Argentine movie called The Secret in their Eyes which won best foreign film at the 2010 Academy awards. Today we jump forward to look at an other Argentine movie which was shortlisted / nominated for the Academy Awards in 2014. Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) is a an Argentine / Spanish black comedy anthology film composed of six standalone shorts, all written and directed by Damián Szifron, united by a common theme of violence and vengeance.
Each unconnected story which runs between 20 and 30 minutes duration is captivating from start to finish. If you hold a short attention span in movies and want things to just happen ‘already’, then Wild Tales should hit all the right buttons. It’s a smorgasbord of events where due to unforeseen circumstances people find themselves at their wits end or in their most desperate hour. What sets Wild Tales apart is the originality of each story concept and none of them are the least bit predictable in how they will turn out. Despite their darkness you cannot help but be entertained by the comical undertone of each extraordinary circumstance. Below is a short plot description of three of the stories taken from the IMDB Storyline:
(2) “The Rats”: A waitress recognizes her client – it’s the loan shark who caused a tragedy in her family. The cook suggests mixing rat poison with his food, but the waitress refuses. The stubborn cook, however, decides to proceed with her plan. (3) “The Strongest”: Two drivers on a lone highway have an argument with tragic consequences. (4) “Little Bomb”: A demolition engineer has his car towed by a truck for parking in a wrong place and he has an argument with the employee of the towing company. This event destroys his private and professional life, and he plots revenge against the corrupt towing company and the city hall.
I wouldn’t say this is a philosophical film, but it is clever entertainment, that makes you think if these wild tales are actually that wild. Even though these stories are taken to the extreme, everything feels somehow possible when you look back. I would class Wild Tales as a modern cinema classic. The acting and writing in this gem from Argentina are superb, and the beautifully photographed segments keep you thrilled and unable to guess just what crazy turn they will take next. A wonderful joy of a film for film lovers with a rather twisted sense of humor.