WILD TALES (Relatos salvajes) [2014]

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Directed and Written by Damián Szifrón

Starring: Darío Grandinetti, María Marull, Mónica Villa

I like my comedy dark. I like to laugh and then feel ashamed for having laughed at what I did. This is how I am, I am a sick man. Happily, the movie industry caters for my tastes, sometimes unintentionally, but not so here. As per the title, the film is actually six short films that all fly by, all incredibly captured, and connecting each is the surreal and the bizarre. The wild nature of each situation pushes normal people beyond the point of logic, causing them to lash out in revenge, caving into that beast we try to tame that we call emotion. Could any of these events ever occur, and if they did, could people act in such absurd ways? Therein lies the notion that will dictate how you enjoy this film. Will you empathise with these people driven beyond reason, or will you laugh at their hopelessness? Personally, I giggled like an idiot.

The first short is actually before the main credits, but it is memorable enough. It is extremely well written, every character introduced is interesting or memorable in some way. My favourite was a music critic who, in his words, when he tears someone’s piece and self esteem to shreds as a critic, he is “protecting the ears of the population”. Soon it becomes apparent that a “cosmic connection” is happening, as everyone on the flight seems to know of this man, ‘Pasternak’, the man whose music thesis was torn apart. What I found funny was the sense of Chinese Whispers; in each subsequent story told about Pasternak by yet another person who knows him, he transforms from an aspiring if not unskilled musician into a ‘psycho’. Again I must commend the writing here, another favourite of mine was a former psychiatrist of Pasternak who mentions he had raised his fees, to Pasternak’s obvious irritation. Lots of chuckles here.

WildTales000077-0-800-0-450-cropThe second film is probably the weakest of the three, probably because it is the most believable and realistic. The rest of the film has a very surreal atmosphere, so this film feels a little out of place. It does though maintain the great writing, with a real bastard of a politician dining in a restaurant where an ex-con works behind the counter. It also maintains retain the dark humour, most prominently in the older woman’s attitude in general, especially when talking about her time spent in prison.

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The next short would have to be my favourite, this is where the movie is at its most bizarre. A play on class division, a man in his Audi can’t get past an older car going slowly in front of him, and further still, when he tries to overtake the other drive swerves to stop him. He finally gets past, letting his thoughts be heard. This is a great take on how people seem to feel invincible in a car; how they will often say almost anything about another driver if they get cut off, things they wouldn’t say to a man’s face. Unfortunately for the man and his Audi, he gets a flat tire, and soon enough his friend from earlier comes around to say hello. After the two meet it doesn’t take long for the fireworks to go off. Revel in the insanity and laugh at the final scene!

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The fourth film is one almost everyone can identify with – paying parking violations that may not be warranted, but the power is always in someone else’s hands, with no way to debate the issue proper. Simón enters the circle of hell reserved for this area of life, with his car needlessly being towed twice in a row. He is accused by his wife of caring more about the facist pigs of the government than his own family, as he arrives to his daughters birthday party just as everybody left. Why? Because his car was towed and he ran about the city trying to follow it up, arguing his case to deaf ears, instead of simply getting to the party on time and worrying about the car later. Revenge and absurdity is our theme here, so the ending to this will satisfy. It is also sentimental without being cringe-worthy, which is a pretty nice trio to end on.

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Next up is a fantastic story that one feels could be made into a feature, or at least a longer version, as this version doesn’t feel finished. A wealthy family’s son has drunkenly hit a pregnant woman with his car, failing to stop. The story is plastered all over the news, the family all a mess. They manage to pressure their house-worker of 15 years into doing the prison time for a large sum of money. But the car is eventually identified and the Policia are at the door. The film falls a bit flat after this, as the dramatic beginning leads to a slightly underwhelming ending, though it is still funny watching a rich man shuffle uncomfortably at the prospect of having to part with a large amount of cash.

The last short is easily the most insane wedding I have ever seen. Start to finish, batshit crazy. Are all weddings this extravagant? The atmosphere seemed more like that of a club than a wedding to begin with! This atmosphere quickly changes though when the bride, Romina, learns her brand new hubby has been less than faithful, and further still has invited the woman in question to his wedding. Cue the most outrageous overreaction to such news put to film, surely, as Romina truly flies off the handle. The scary thing is that it is such a real situation.. are we really capable of these actions? This one comes with an ending that is slightly inappropriate, but funny nonetheless, and better yet – unexpected. A great way to end a fascinating and unique movie that is filled with laughs.

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Does the anthology thing work? Here, it does. With revenge tying all the films together, it being an anthology allows us to meet many different characters all experiencing different emotions. We are thrust into absurd situations that force us to reflect what we would do in such a position. Working with shorts also gives the filmmaker freedom to end their stories on a memorable note without ruining the rest of the movie. I originally saw this at the Spanish Film Festival, but I had to see it again before writing about it. Just as funny the second time.

#MUSTWATCH!

25 Comments on “WILD TALES (Relatos salvajes) [2014]

    • I still laugh when I think about the one with the guy in his audi. Such a great film. I loved this movie, should got off my backside to see it again earlier

      Like

  1. Great, great movie man. Glad you’ve reviewed it. I also thought the car situation was the best of the lot. That shit was flat-out hilarious. Especially with the final shot haha. Actually, we are pretty much in lock-step here, because I think the second short was the weakest for me, too. I actually didn’t think it was very well-done. But regardless, this all came together nicely. A very unique experience

    Like

    • Yes, that final shot in that car short was freaking FUN-NY!!!

      I remember vaguely reading your review, definitely a film that deserves more attention!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, don’t the police that arrive on the scene end up declaring it as “an act of passion?” lol!!!

        Like

      • HAHAHA!!! Yes they did say that. Haha gotta love it.

        You were spot on back when you reviewed it, you said I’d love this 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • How in the sweet fuck did Force Majuere not get nominated?! I figured it was for this years awards (or next years, whatever). That is truly fucked, I rated that movie highly when I saw it. Yet another reason to dismiss ‘awards season’

        I never saw Leviathan but I admit to loving Winter Sleep. The constant attention to the human condition in various ways, the incredible views… it sucked me in. But Force Majuere was the best of them all I agree. So funny, so stunning to look at.

        I haven’t even seen Ida. What was so great about it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. The Oscar race should have been between Wild Tales and Force Majuere.
        Leviathan was too boring and depressing and I didn’t feel it fully delivered with it’s story. Ida was okay, the cinematography was great but there was nothing particularly special about it. I suppose, Winter Sleep was better than these two but didn’t get nominated either. The Palme d’Or success didn’t help, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can see why it’d be an interesting discussion… who should have been nominated, who got ‘snubbed’ etc etc… but once the awards are finished any discussions like that are rather pointless, at least as I see it

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great write-up, Jordan! I loved this movie and reading this actually made me want to see it again. 🙂 I actually saw it just a week after a German plane crashed here in Europe, which is why I didn’t enjoy the first story as much as I otherwise would. It definitely deserves a re-watch.

    Like

  3. Glad you got to see (and enjoyed this), it’s one of the highlights of the year for sure. I enjoyed the ones you did (with only the second story feeling a little lacklustre. The way the road rage one escalates is so funny, and I liked the parking violation one too. Great film, and having the wedding at the end works well.

    Like

    • Agreed on all accounts!! That road rage one was a riot, and I loved how the wedding just escalated so quickly. Its a great movie if you’ve had a shitty day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn, I really want to see this! I’ve heard such good things, and to be honest, I was kind of sold right from the DVD cover artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

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