21 May 2015

Wild Tales - film review

From At The Movies, 7:40 pm on 21 May 2015

Wild Tales - directed by Damian Szifron, starring Ricardo Darin

I’ve only seen a few films from Argentina, but they’ve all been terrific – particularly the Oscar-winning Secret in Their Eyes and this week, the Oscar-nominated Wild Tales.

Wild Tales consists of separate stories, loosely linked by the idea of revenge. There are six stories, all blackly funny and all with an Argentinean twist in the tail.  

It opens on “Pasternak”, in which two people start talking on a plane, and discover they have a mutual acquaintance.  It turns out everyone on the plane knew the mysterious Senor Pasternak. 

The subsequent stories all start with a simple premise too – a rude customer arrives at a café, a short-tempered engineer gets his car towed away, a father is woken up by a distraught son…

The final story opens on a wedding – the happiest, most joyful wedding anyone could imagine - with the band blaring tango-music and the two families alternately laughing and sobbing. 

What could possibly go wrong as the groom takes his wife for the first dance? The answer to that – like all the Wild Tales on offer – is plenty.

Wild Tales is one of those frustrating films you don’t want to say anything about for fear of ruining the experience.  

It was not only nominated for an Oscar this year – beaten by rather more serious fare – but it was one of the most entertaining films in competition at Cannes last year.

I strongly recommend it. None of the stories go where you expect, they’re all equal parts dark and hilarious, and they remind you what Film Festivals offer that most blockbusters don’t. Surprise.