Wild Tales movie review

Featuring: Simón Ricardo Darín, Mauricio Oscar Martínez, Diego Iturralde, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Romina Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg, Salgado Darío Grandinetti, Helena María Onetto, Victoria Nancy Dupláa
Writer/ Director: Damián Szifron

Australian release date: Wed, May 6 (closing night of 2015 Spanish Film Festival, Cinema Paradiso, Perth)

Reviewer: rolanstein
Verdict: Brilliantly executed comedy of catharsis – a wonderfully fresh, hugely enjoyable blast of a cinema experience.

Perthites, take note: the 2015 Spanish Film Festival is on at Cinema Paradiso from 23 April to 6 May. There were some tremendous movies in last year’s program, including Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed – a little gem that I reviewed here. There’s another absolute must-see this year, which I was fortunate to catch at a preview screening.

I refer to the Oscar nominated and Almodovar produced Argentinian black comedy Wild Tales, which has been chosen for this year’s Closing Night premiere screening – talk about finishing with a bang! If this cracker is any indication of the quality of the rest of the Festival offerings, Olé, Olé, Olé!

Comprising six short tales of revenge, the film opens with a now controversial prologue that has copped a backlash of publicity post the Germanwings pilot suicide tragedy, and serves notice that audiences are, indeed, in for a wild ride.

The stories are often shocking, often grotesquely violent, yet somehow also laugh-out-loud funny. You’re either cacking yourself, clenching with tension, or bug-eyed with horror fascination – sometimes all of the above simultaneously!

Covering a wide range of situations and characters, the tales are not related except in the common theme of revenge emanating from injustice. There’s an aggrieved pilot with a master plan to get even, a road rage incident that gets way out of control and devolves into farcical but hilarious splatter slapstick, a wealthy father who tries to buy his son’s way out of doing time for a fatal road accident, an office worker who reaches the end of his tether wrangling over parking fines with petty-minded and regulation-touting clerks, an unlikely vigilante who strikes back against a gangster bully, and a wedding that erupts into a raging war of get-even between bride and groom…

Everything works. The cinematography, the music, the stories, the characters. The narratives are uniformly brilliantly structured, and pushed to full potential by superb performances. The actors are perfectly tuned into the rage that informs the tales, which is key to their success.

This is comedy of catharsis, gloriously liberated from the straitjacket of political correctness. Who in the anguish of injustice has not yearned to just let go and strike back at the perpetrator, bypassing social restraints and conditioning and damn the consequences? There is ecstasy in the primal moment, ecstasy and lunacy and outrage. All that is ingeniously captured here, coated in an irresistible sense of the ridiculous with a pure emotional truth within that makes it OK to laugh your arse off, however socially unacceptable – or criminal! – the retaliatory action of the aggrieved.

This is a wonderfully fresh, hugely enjoyable blast of a cinema experience. Wild Tales is set for wider release immediately after the Festival, but why wait? Count down to closing night, then run, don’t walk.

For other Boomtown Rap movie reviews, see Movie Review Archives

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