Wild Tales Review
By David Kempler
Wildly Funny and Startling
It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in a particularly strong year, but Argentina's "Wild Tales", featuring Pedro Almodovar as one of its producers, didn't win it. However, no film of 2014 was a better example of quality black comedy. Another factor making "Wild Tales" special is that it is actually six short films, all of which share the theme of revenge.
Written and directed by Damián Szifrón, the anthology constantly jumps back and forth between tension, mystery, and comedy and is an absolutely unique experience. Even as the mood of each piece switched, my smile remained plastered on my face, no matter how startling the twist of the story. This is no easy feat to accomplish, but Szifrón weaves it all into one smoothly operating display.
Before the credits roll, we are immediately immersed in the first tale, which takes place on an airliner. It starts off innocently enough, with a young attractive lady engaged in conversation with a man old enough to be her father, who is initially interested in her for her looks. A series of coincidences follow their initial interaction. It spirals into something akin to a comedic Twilight Zone episode, but it's not straight comedy. There are real consequences to the humorous situation.
The rest of the stories feature a woman coming face-to-face with a man who wronged her family many years earlier, a crazed road-rage incident, a demolitions expert who channels Michael Douglas in "Falling Down", a hit and run incident, and finally a wedding where a secret is revealed that sets off a pretty incredible set of circumstances.
Naturally, some of them are better than the others, but there are no total duds in the group, and a solid four of the six are great fun. It's not often that you can go and see films that both amuse and startle at the very same moments. Major kudos to Szifrón for pulling it off. "Wild Tales" is chock full of wild tales and after you see it, you'll want people you know to see it so you can have someone to share the laughs with you.