REVIEW: Wild Tales

20 02 2015

Wild TalesOver the past few years, the phenomenon of binge-watching television shows has essentially revolutionized the way media and narratives are consumed.  When they can sit still for longer than the duration of a ten-second snapchat, people now want a rapid succession of rising action and escalating climaxes.

Argentinian director Damián Szifron is certainly not the first person to create an anthology film, nor is he unique in housing multiple narrative threads under the same canopy.  Nonetheless, his “Wild Tales” feels special in the way it adapts this form to meet the demands of an audience with access to troves of great television (not to mention short films).  This thematically curated collection of six large scale mini-movies permits a rhythm of continual engagement and repeated payoff.

These dividends feel substantially greater than the average movie.  The effect could have something to do with the quantity of storytelling present in “Wild Tales,” yet Szifron also brings some serious quality to the table as well.  His characters and scenarios range from a jilted wife at her wedding reception to a raging motorist and even a plane full of people who all crossed the wrong man, but they all somehow circle back to matters of animalistic revenge and cosmic karma.

Fittingly, Szifron supplies a wickedly biting sense of irony to every tale.  While the guiding approach to each story might be similar, the manifestations are only similar in their dark, demented humor.  Those familiar with the social and political context of Argentina might get a little more out of the film, though “Wild Tales” communicates on such primal channels of human impulse that its appeal is not tied to one nation.  Anyone who has ever felt victimized or wronged by some unexplainable force should find something relatable in Szifron’s compilation … and then relish hovering over the proceedings, observing the pain of others from a god-like distance.  A-3halfstars

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