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. Vulnerable in the face of a reality that shifts and suddenly turns unpredictable, the characters of Wild Tales cross the thin line that divides civilization and barbarism.
Here are stories of lives destroyed by parking fines, of road-rage insults escalating into apocalyptic Duel-like confrontations, of white wedding parties descending into something more akin to the final scenes from Carrie – all defined by the sudden and violent breakdown of “polite” behaviour. The results are shocking and sharp as a knife, but be warned – the unfolding real-life tragedy in the Alps casts a grim unforeseen shadow over the opening segment.
Wild Tales is a raucously entertaining collection of “six deadly stories of revenge”. The brilliance of the film (produced by Pedro Almodóvar) lies in its combination of excess and ordinariness. There is a lot of violence here, often staged in a manner so extreme and so comical that it verges on the cartoonish. At the same time, the young Argentine writer-director Damián Szifron roots the tales in circumstances that every cinemagoer will recognise. If you’ve ever had a parking ticket or attended a wedding that got out of hand or held a grudge from schooldays, you will recognise the motivations of the protagonists.
The stories are quite different from one another but are linked by common themes. As Szifron has written, they are about “catharsis, vengeance and destruction… and the undeniable pleasure of losing control”.
Dir: Damián Szifrón , 2014, UK, 2 hr 02 min, 15. “Relatos salvajes” (original title)
Stars: Darío Grandinetti, María Marull, Mónica Villa