Occasionally, I have to question my own sanity. It generally stems from taking great pleasure from other's misfortunes, whether it be a toddler stacking it whilst running full-pelt across the park, or a grown adult colliding with a pole whilst too busy on their mobile phone. There's something deliriously satisfying about witnessing another's misadventures, making your life seem tolerable, even if only momentarily. This is the concept behind the film 'Wild Tales', and it's presented to us on a platter with a deliciously healthy dose of deviousness.
This is a film in six parts - six individual stories tied together by a common theme of the protagonist seeking revenge. A group of strangers seemingly brought together on the same doomed plane flight. A mobster boss who encounters a waitress whose family was torn apart by him years earlier. A businessman provoked by a local driving down a long desert highway. A demolition expert down on his luck. A kid involved in a hit-and-run being protected by his wealthy parents. And last but certainly not least, a newlywed bride who discovers on her wedding night her husband is cheating on her.
This is black comedy at its best. Each of the tales that make up this film is crafted with such care and precision, each story pushed further and further past the point of logic and into a realm of ludicrousness. The writing is superb, delivering impeccably captivating adventures in succinct packages. It's also shot beautifully and cleverly by director Damián Szifrón and cinematographer Javier Juliá, with as many visual puns as verbal ones.
This film is held up, however, by its superb cast. In a short space of time, the key players have to deliver us the situation, build the tension, and reveal the punchline. In all six instances, this is achieved in a remarkably convincing fashion, capturing your attention instantly as we flick between stories. Although hard to pick standouts with such a wide and varied cast, it's hard not to mention Erica Rivas as the scorned bride; witnessing her emotional spiral from jubilation to psychosis is both absurdly amusing and terrifying.
This is black comedy at its best.
'Wild Tales' is a sharp, intelligent film that will have you chuckling inappropriately at some of the greatest tragedies in human existence. Look past the fact that this is a foreign film or a compilation of shorts, because this truly is the sum of its parts. If you have a dark side, you will relish every second of this deliriously deviant tale.