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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Wild Tales

March 27th, 2015 by Conor ONeill Comments


Wild Tales (18)
Directed by: Damián Szifron
Starring: Darío Grandinetti, María Marull & Mónica Villa
Running time: 122 min

Leaving afternoon Sun to the seat of theatre number one, I find myself to be more than harassed, glassed, kicked and trumped with a steel-bar than not many – or any – should have to deal with. One movie, six unconnected scenes but each seems tied with a very fine line of golden silk.

This movie is in Spanish with English subs and is set in an apocalyptic Argentina under an undemocratic government, maybe now, maybe next decade, possibly under Pinochet. Money is the law. In all six chapters, the tales of this two hours one minute and ferocious movie nit-comb through the under-belly of Argentina’s working, middle but mostly upper-class. Director and writer, under the guidance of hero and producer Pedro Almobloar, Damian Szifron’s genius Wild Tales brings a fresh breath of air only a pharmaceutical monolith should be-able to create with total abandon to those poor little rabbits.

The plot? Na, try many plots. Six cosy and not so cosy tales of a corrupt supposed democracy hanging itself with bureaucracy, heavy-handed official and umpteen characters gelling as one as we all jeer them to futile and sometimes murderous redemption. There are six stories here, none of them connected in any shape of form apart from the desire for revenge. And revenge seems to be costly on the menu of our South American Brethren.

Every one you’ve ever hated? Pack them on a plane and ruin an old couple’s morning juice. Okay, just as long as everyone on the plane is connected in some minute way to the anti-hero. May it be by a model’s boyfriend destroyed by a critic or a psychiatrist what did wrong. And that’s just story one. Two knocks off with haunting scenes of tigers, crocs, Silver Backs, hyenas, the lethal movement of a great white and all those nice little creatures great and dangerous. Add some old memories, suicide and rat poison and once again Szifron’s love of the gore and deficiencies and fight or flight efficiencies of the human nature come into play.

Stop worrying, I’m not going to drag you through every novella. Just let’s rest assured number four is not to be missed; A sacked demolition expert argues with a jobs-worth traffic warden – I guess that’s worse than being dragged down by a croc – finds himself at odds with the traffic office and the government. Simple solution… aye, you know what’s coming. But it’s delivered in such a slight-of-hand manner that the inevitable still comes as a surprise. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The other two both have their moments, in fact, spying with my little eye through the misshapen and spider-on-ink scribblings, number three is also worth a wat. You’ll never raise the bird again during a fit of road-rage. Ah, forget it, the www is ever expanding and I’m sure another 50 of my words won’t hurt. Five: car crash, millionaire getting squeezed by his own lawyer and the district prosecutor. Mayhem and vengeance pave the way.

For the climax, well, you’ll have to go and see. The wedding tale is a blast from start to finish and weighs up the whole notion of these separate films not, or maybe not, being a collaboration of theme. As for the actors, well, they’re all Argentinean to me. But every one has been well selected and acts their arses off.

One special mention, I once spoke with Raindance’s Elliot Grove and he espoused the necessity for paying just as much on sound quality as on film. Wild Tales at times leaves the viewer awestruck with a feeling of real silence. It gropes its way, especially through the first half of the stories, and helps create a fantastic way of spending your coin.


4 out of 5 Nerds


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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.