Tuesday, 17 March 2015


Making its debut at Cannes 2014, Argentina's Damian Szifron welcomes UK audiences to his critically acclaimed anthology thriller, Wild Tales. Without putting too fine a point on it, Wild Tales is not the kind of film you would usually associate with the words 'Oscar' and 'nomination'. Having said that, if more films like this were rewarded at the prestigious ceremony we would probably pay closer attention.

If the opening was designed to grab your attention then so be it, Wild Tales kicks off with a zippy, unapologetic short that takes several prisoners - not least the audience. The second movie, of which there are six, is short and sweet but pales in comparison to other instalments. It doesn't do anything wrong, and whets the appetite for sure, but upon reflection, chapter two feels like the one story that could've made way for a leaner, meaner cut.

Damian Szifron doesn't attempt to connect his stories in any way. Six short stories that focus on revenge, that's all there is to it. Part three, in which a moment of road rage explodes into Looney Tune farce, was for me the defining chapter. Wild Tales really finds its groove here. Nasty, offbeat and irresistibly comical, you won't know who to root for as events take a turn for the worse (meaning better). It's here that Wild Tales quite literally dumps on the competition.

With three more stories to tell, Wild Tales doesn't pull any punches. Part four builds to an explosive climax and the penultimate chapter - concerning the cover up of a hit-and-run incident that doesn't go to plan - hammers its message home, even if the end result is somewhat predictable. Wild Tales ends with its best instalment, taking place at a wedding ceremony like no other. It's a teasing finale, one that feeds off the suspense of earlier chapters. It's also very funny, with the payoff proving especially memorable.

Don't let the Oscar nomination fool you, Wild Tales deserves a place in everybody's collection. Darkly comic, wickedly twisted and unapologetically absurd, Damian Szifron paints a beautiful portrait of revenge. Check it out.

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