Dark film a ‘Wild’ look at the human animal
By Bob Bloom
“Wild Tales” is an anthology film showcasing six short stories that show how easily people can lose their civilized veneer and revert to barbarism and savagery.
In each instance, some sort of personal, societal or institutional miscarriage pushes a protagonist over the edge.
This Argentinian feature is black, but definitely not bleak. A wry and biting sense of humor runs through all the vignettes, Otherwise, the movie would have been unbearably heavy.
The film is a subversive satire that shines a light on the daily inequities that plague us, and the reality that most people simply either overlook, ignore or apathetically accept them.
The stories vary in locations from an airplane in flight, to a diner, a highway and a wedding.
Giving too many details about each story would ruin the surprise. Better, you go in with an open mind and no clues or expectations.
Just realize that some of the shorts will shock you, others will make you gasp and some may elicit laughter. But they all make the same point — that we hold onto our humanity by the slimmest of threads and it takes very little to throw us off balance.
Incidents as innocuous as a parking ticket, seeing someone from the past or a misplaced remark can accelerate into a loss of self-control that can lead to violence and even death.
“Wild Tales’ tone is set in a Hitchcockian pre-credit sequence aboard an airplane. From there, the film never really lets up as it pounds home its premise — we are all barbarians just waiting for the right spark to ignite our inner rage and unleash our subconscious monsters.
The movie ends on an uplifting note, but even that is a perverse depiction of reality.
Nevertheless, “Wild Tales,” written and directed by Damián Szifron, is an unusual experience. Its I-don’t-give-a-damn, anarchic attitude is appalling and simultaneously appealing.
It’s a film that will have you thinking about the true nature of people in general and of yourself specifically.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
3 ½ stars out of 4
(R), violence, language, sexual content
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