Starring: Dario Grandinetti, Ricardo Darín, Erica Rivas
Director: Damián Szifrón
Running Time: 122 mins
Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) is an Argentinian film containing six short stories about stress and revenge, and the maddening lengths that people in distress will go to.
This has to be one of the most shocking and blackest comedies of all time. It’s basically not a comedy, although there are a lot of laughs, thanks to the insanely surreal situations that unfold here, as well as the ridiculously exaggerated violence that will make you laugh, but also shock you to the core. However, it’s the thrilling stories throughout this film that will leave you breathless at every second, because it’s just so unpredictable and so tense every step of the way.
Firstly, an overview of the film as a whole. The fantastic directing by Damián Szifrón is one of the most impressive parts of the whole saga, and it really shows off on screen, and adds a whole lot more to the excitement of the stories, whilst the stunning writing in every separate story transforms this into an unbelievably thrilling playbook that bucks the trend of so many anthologies that create a disjointed story that can be boring to watch, there are swift transitions throughout here, and every single story is always just as exciting and unpredictable as the last.
So, now let’s go in order of the six stories, starting with the very short, but what I think is the best, opening aeroplane tale. This is very understated and, despite its short duration, has an ingeniously gradual build up, followed by a shocking revelation and then a hilarious punchline, by far the most exhilarating part of the film.
However, the second tale, set in a roadside diner, is not far off that. Here, we really see the plain horrors of people driven by revenge, and it’s definitely one of the most emotional stories of the film, but it utilises its small cast and eerie setting to great effect to create something completely unpredictable and engrossing.
The third tale, a road battle that is often almost identical to Steven Spielberg’s Duel, is definitely the most violent part of the film, as well as the scariest by far, because it’s just got a terrifying sense of isolation and helplessness, as well as a horrifying villain, but also a protagonist who you’re never quite on side with, making the tension and violence a bit more hilarious than just petrifying.
That’s followed by what is the longest section of the film, simply about a man who has had enough with everyone treating him like some sort of a criminal. Although this isn’t the most exhilarating tale, it’s the easiest to relate to, and brings across the element of stress in its main character in brilliantly clear form.
The penultimate tale, although I thought it was the weakest, was still intriguing. It details the events about the lengths people will go to to protect those closest to them and then further their own agenda, and whilst the punchline was ultimately a little predictable, it was still a horrifying account of the selfishness of many people.
The final tale, about a wedding gone wrong, was the greatest emotional rollercoaster of the film. It’s full of insane laughs, as well as an astonishing central performance by Erica Rivas, but it finishes the film on a real high note, impressing on you an image of complete madness and shocking violence that brilliantly sums up this entire film, and that’s why it gets an 8.9 from me.