Wild Tales (Damian Szifron, 2014): Argentina/Spain

Reviewed by Angela Ostermeier. Viewed at the AFI Fest 2014.

wild talesWhere do I begin… This film was outrageously funny and definitely the most unique I’ve seen in a very long time. Wild Tales, directed by Damian Szifron, tells six short stories that are all about seeking revenge or being greedy in someway. While it is hard to tell what is exactly going to happen in each story up to the very last minute they are all pretty entertaining throughout the films entirety. However, due to the graphic nature and violence of most perhaps all of the stories I would definitely recommend leaving the kids at home.

The film is shot in both Argentina and Spain which gives the film even more of a unique quality to me since I usually don’t genuinely love movies that I spend two hours reading subtitles, but this one I and the audience could make an exception for. It’s rare these days to go to a movie and have the entire theater laughing along to the film. It brings you back to a time where going to the movies was an experience in its own instead of a time to stare at the screen like a mindless drone like so many other films these days have viewers doing. I think that the movies range of cast and characters has a lot to do with that as well.

With stars that include Ricardo Darín, Óscar Martínez, Érica Rivas, and my personal favorite Darío Grandietti from Pedro Almodovar’s film Talk to Her. Almodovar also lends a hand as producer of this film. I think that this film does what the American version of this tried to do in Movie 43. While some feature films have it and others don’t I believe it’s clear to viewers everywhere that Wild Tales truly lives up to its name.

I think the main reason why viewers will identify with this film is because of its general themes of revenge and greed. While each character in these stories range from being innocent to guilty the story flows into a path that you would never expect crazy characters that include a revengeful newlywed, a scorned man by the world (in multiple cases), a loving father who doesn’t want his sons named tarnished, and a crazy cook to name a few.

The films deeper roots delve into the deepest darkest guilts that human beings share including road rage, swindling, greed, white lies, cheating, and blaming others for our mistakes. I think that with themes like this in movies audience members are able to establish a sense of common ground with the characters because were all guilty of if not one or more of these actions. This movie just looks at all those negative things in a humorous way.

Wild Tales has received attention from the academy and has been nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. While many are excited for the new biggest blockbuster to hit theaters I recommended that viewers out this movie on their must see list if they are looking for a film that will cause an array of emotions in one film through many “Wild Tales.”

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