While Jim Jarmusch’s “Night on Earth” (reviewed here on 2 January) suffered from the curse of the multi-story film, “Wild Tales” owns it and makes it work brilliantly. It blasted out of Argentina and was nominated for the Best Foreign Film of 2015 at the Academy Awards.
From the opening credits which show a series of wild animals vibrating with energy, “Wild Tales” never slows down. Working across six engrossing tales of revenge, the filmmaker Damián Szifron, maintains full control of his material, the pacing, and his characters.
The opening story has an entire plane-ful of passengers discover that they all know and have somehow wronged one man and he’s flying the plane. Each next story ups the stakes and each next level of vengeance is equal parts ghastly and hysterically funny. This was my introduction to Ricardo Darín in a story about what happens when a faceless, brutal bureaucracy gets on the wrong side of an engineer who specializes in explosive demolitions.
As biting and smart as the first five stories are, nothing prepared me for the ride that sixth story took me on. Suffice to say that so very much can go wrong at a huge, expensive wedding when the bride discovers her new husband has invited a current fling to the festivities. By the time she’s standing over him, bloodied and triumphant, I almost felt sorry for the poor schmuck who never saw this coming.
“Wild Tales” is so charged with fury, black-edged humor and originality that I keep showing it to friends. You will, too.