Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes)

It is daring, outrageous and unorthodox. It is also tremendously entertaining.

Six short stories based on one central theme. We’ve seen such anthologies before. What makes Argentinean film Wild Tales different is that they are all by the same director, and none of the stories or characters intersect. What also makes the movie distinctly different is the sheer quality of the shorts and thus the effectiveness of conveying the central motif. All the stories have an element of violent revenge about them, but more than anything Wild Tales is a deep, dark, satirical social commentary.

Passengers on a plane discover they have a common acquaintance. A waitress recognizes the patron she is serving. Road rage gets out of hand. An engineer’s car gets wrongly towed away. A rich man gets involved in his son’s hit-and-run case. During the wedding, a bride has reason to suspect her husband.

Wild Tales is a crowd-pleaser – the kind of movie that will have an entire cinema laughing and gasping together. Not unlike a Stephen King bouquet of short stories, writer-director Damián Szifrón injects morbid humour in his tales, but ensures that the hilarity is only to get the audience laugh at the uncomfortably familiar predicaments of the many protagonists. The movie takes pleasure from pushing civilized people to the edge, and over. From the first story – a prologue – the movie kicks off to a thrilling start and continues in vein until the end of the last story. The skill of the director (and his writing) is evident in each story being complete in itself: the players are introduced, they are put in a pickle and the scenario is played out to its end.

The cinematography, editing and performances place the movie in the space of commercial cinema but the sheer audacity of the film suggests an indie soul. It is daring, outrageous and unorthodox. It is also tremendously entertaining – the kind of movie that any filmgoer would recommend to another. It compels post-viewing discussions and much laughter. As one of the movies that played on the last day of the 11th Dubai International Film Festival, Wild Tales ensures that those in attendance will remember it as the best ever finish to the festival.

Rating: ★★★★★

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About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.