WILD TALES (2015, Argentina)
SUNDAY 13 March 10.00 am
TUESDAY 15 March 8.15 pm
RUNNING TIME 122 minutes
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. A lover's betrayal, a return to the repressed past and the violence woven into everyday encounters drive the characters to madness as they cede to the undeniable pleasure of losing control.
REVIEW BY LOUISE KELLER
Revenge is the common thread that links Damian Szifron's six fearlessly entertaining tales that range from uproariously funny to bleakly black. While not all the tales are entirely successful, they zing with ideas and energy, economically exploring extreme scenarios and characters pushed to their limits. It's a bit like a multi-coloured mosaic in which Szifron has expanded the boundaries of his mind to create diverse characters whose foibles gather speed and momentum.
Pasternak, the first and most economical tale, is by far the funniest and most enjoyable. Beautifully set up, it provides information on a need-to-know basis, teasing us from the outset. It mostly takes place onboard an airplane on which a model (Maria Marull) travelling on business gets talking to the music critic (Dario Grandinetti) sitting in the aisle seat opposite. The revelation that they both have a connection to a person named Gabriel Pasternak is the beginning of a springboard to hilarity.
Rita Cortese as the ex-con fat cook is my favourite character in The Rats, in which a loan shark and gangster orders fried eggs and chips, much to the distress of the young waitress whose life he ruined. But the cook (who retorts: 'Nothing I regret' to the question what did she do to be sent to jail) has other ideas, involving rat poison. Road to Hell pushes the envelope with a dose of road rage between an Audi-driving businessman (Leonardo Sbaraglia) and a red-neck truckie (Walter Donado). The black ending doesn't disappoint.
In Bombita, Ricardo Darin (Nine Queens) is terrific as the engineer, whose sense of injustice from a parking fine sets him on a down slide in which his job, marriage and entire life are casualties. (Remember Tom Hardy in Locke?) The surprise happy ending is totally unexpected and emphasizes life's ironies. The Deal is my least favourite tale, depicting the very worst of human nature and told without humour. It involves a hit and run accident, the patsy and money-hungry vultures that swoop. Although the finale Til Death Do Us Part is a little long, this beautifully drawn
elaborate wedding scene with jealous bride, unfaithful groom, helpful chef and others reinforces the notion that the turbulent institution of marriage is indeed 'for better and for worse'. The bridal waltz - to the Blue Danube - has never been so tumultuous.
Nominated for an Academy Award in 2014, the film is a real crowd pleaser as it tugs and pushes us in every direction, dazzling us with surprises and humour around every corner. After all, isn't laughter the best medicine?