This review has been written on a special demand by my friend K. Pushpendu Prashant.
Year of Release: 2014
Country: Argentina, Spain
Wild Tales is an anthology film consisting of six mutually exclusive stories, all based on revenge in some way or the other. The stories are listed in the order of their appearance in the film: –
- The Rats
- The Strongest
- Little Bomb
- The Proposal
- Till Death Do Us Part
What I liked/loved about the film: –
The movie’s strongest point is its storyline and its screenplay which understand that people connect to pain and revenge more comprehensively than any other emotions. The most important thing about revenge is its randomness and eccentricity i.e. there is no specific way or reason for it and this is captured well by writer Damian Szifron (who is also the director) in Wild Tales. Each story is strange and absurd in its own terms and their uniqueness keeps the overall narrative fresh. The best shorts in my opinion were Pasternak and The Strongest chiefly because they blew my mind with their strangeness and were filled with savagery, the most clichéd yet the most important thing about revenge.
The characters have been well sketched and their variety and depth have been complimented by the actors. The ones who shine the most in the feature are Rita Cortese (The Rats), Leonardo Sbaraglia (The Strongest), Ricardo Darin (Simon Fischer), Oscar Martinez (The Proposal) and Erica Rivas (Till Death Do Us Part). My personal favourite performances were that of Cortese and Rivas, both portraying badass female characters who are not ashamed of being wrong or right either.
On the technical side, Gustavo Santaolalla’s music was cool. Javier Julia did a commendable job with the film’s cinematography especially in the shorts The Strongest and Till Death Do Us Part. P. B. Carrera and Szifron kept the editing tight and smooth.
What irked me about the film: –
Damian Szifron’s direction. It definitely sounds strange and many might disagree with me but I will maintain my stance on this. Szifron surely created a wonderful story and screenplay but it seemed that he directed the shorts quite mechanically in accordance with the script with a lack of insight. There are many instances to prove the same but I will go with 2 of his biggest direction flaws; one in The Strongest where Diego starts packing his tools and tyres instead of driving away even after seeing that Mario has survived; and the second in The Proposal where Jose is attacked by an unknown man brutally even in the presence of police’s security. His substandard direction in the film can also be evinced when he is unable to mitigate with the loose ends of the screenplay. A shining example of the same can be in the short The Rats where the loan shark’s son who comes much later after the loan shark has started eating the food, is affected by the poison while his father hasn’t yet felt a thing. Szifron could have amended this by making the son arrive at the same time the dish was served or having made the loan shark eat something else instead of the poisoned food while his son started on the dish.
Even if I consider the movie to be well written, I still have some complains with the screenplay. Each story is excellent independently but the intensity of vendetta reduces for the fourth and the fifth shorts only to rise back in the final one (but) with sheer absurdity. The stories are truly wild without any doubt but the film seldom comments or discusses the detrimental effects of the gore and the violence it portrays (except in The Strongest) or even makes its characters realise the same. A fine example can be of Little Bomb where we see the public coming in support of Simon but ignores the other side of the story where Simon’s actions must have met with lambaste because what he did was dangerous to both people and their property and wasn’t cool at all.
Final Verdict: –
Yes, I accept that Wild Tales is flawed and that too in its most important department i.e. direction; but I believe the general audience will overlook most of the flaws and get swayed away with the wonderfully wild screenplay and the strong performances. Watch it for its uniqueness and savagery after all Revenge is a dish best served cold.