Nominated for best foreign language film at this year’s Academy Awards, Wild Tales hails from Argentina. An anthology piece, it features six unlikely stories all united by the common theme of violent revenge.
First off, I can’t for the life of me understand how this film ended up chosen by The Academy. I don’t mean that it was of low quality, it just doesn’t seem like something they would go for. It is six short films, all completely outrageous as well as darkly comedic with obscenities, vulgarities, and violence abounding. It’s quite similar, in fact, to how I imagine a Machine of Death film would turn out, should that ever be adapted for the screen. Again, not complaining, just a bit mystified, especially considering there were movies like the highly acclaimed Force Majeure that did not make the cut.
The six vignettes are of varying length and begin with a plane full of passengers who, in a very LOST-esque coincidence, realize they all have something in common, and that’s not a very good thing at all. Next is “Rats,” a story where a young waitress is put in a position where she has the opportunity to take revenge on the man who ruined her family years before. “The Strongest,” is the most ridiculous tale of road rage you will ever see.
A demolition expert frustrated with bureaucracy and unfairness, a father determined to keep his son out of prison after a hit and run, and a bride scorned all star in the following three wild tales. Each story is completely ridiculous in different ways but “extreme,” would be a good word that could apply to them all.
Though I did mostly enjoy the film, I’m not quite sure of its point. Is it just an outlet for all the frustrations and vengeful impulses throughout your life? Is it social commentary about injustice? Perhaps satire of the glamorized revenge flicks so often pumped out by Hollywood? The best I can come up with, if there is an overall “moral to the story,” is the highlighting of the absurdity and futility of revenge, though not even that quite fits with some stories having a “happy” ending while others do not. It felt a bit too pointless to really make an impact for me.
Certainly not for the faint of heart or easily offended, Wild Tales certainly lives up to its name, and then some. It’s a bit unique and incredibly dark with a very twisted sense of humor. It’s not a film I would recommend to general audiences, but if by this point it sounds like something up your alley, then by all means see it as soon as possible. If you’re still not sure, then it’s probably not a good choice for you. Well done and memorable, but not for everyone.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“This is a weird movie to like, but I enjoyed the stories even though the characters made me angry.”
My rating: Three out of five hats
Wild Tales is currently exacting revenge in limited release, coming to the DC area Feb 27th.