Starring Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Erica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg, Dario Grandinetti, Maria Onetto, Nancy Duplaa, Osmar Nunez. Directed by Damian Szifron. (2014, 122 min). Sony
This Argentine-Spanish film (nominated for a 2014 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film) is easily the most bizarre, unpredictable and unusual film I've seen in a long time. Consisting of six seemingly unrelated short stories, I suppose the overall theme would be revenge. Even so, trying to pigeonhole Wild Tales into a specific genre is a waste of time, since each vignette is decidedly different. Still, the entire film has a blackly comedic mean streak running through it a mile wide.
Like most anthology films, some stories work better than others. Wild Tales starts off with a bang with a highly amusing piece in which the passengers onboard a plane discover they all have one thing in common: a past relationship with a guy who holds a huge grudge. From a narrative standpoint, this story is the most straightforward and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Other standout stories feature a disgruntled demolition expert who goes to extremes when dealing with a parking ticket, a case of road rage that gets way out of hand (with a hilariously ironic resolution) and a wedding reception which turns sour after the bride discovers her husband has been cheating on her. The remaining two stories, while interesting, are more like listening to someone try to tell a joke, only they forgot the punchline.
Still, Wild Tales remains a fiercely original film and, if you're in the right frame of mind, phenomenally entertaining. It's loaded with narrative surprises and terrific performances by the entire cast. Whether or not you actually enjoy or approve of each segment, there's no denying you've never seen anything like it. That alone makes Wild Tales worth checking out.
EXTRAS: Featurettes: "Wild Shooting: Creating the Film"; "As Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival with Damian Szifron"