EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a capsule review. The full review will be released once the film hits theatres.
When one sees the name Pedro Almodovar attached to a film, they know that it will surely feature some laughs and pack an impressive amount of shock value. Wild Tales is the latest to bear the Almodovar name, but it is in fact not written or directed by Almodovar himself (he produces), and instead is made by Damian Szifron. The Argentinian director who was previously known for his FIPRESCI prize-winning film Bottom of the Sea, packs lots black comedy into this unexpectedly bleak, episodic film and turns it into a very enjoyable ride.
The first of Wild Tales’ six vignettes features a group of strangers aboard an airplane. As a man and woman make friendly conversation, they come to realize that they both know – and wronged – failed musician Gabriel Pasternak. One by one, fellow passengers stand up and declare that they also knew Pasternak, and have each offended them in their own way. We’re not going to spoil what happens in the end of the film’s opening sequence, but let’s just say that it is appalling, politically incorrect, and absolutely hilarious.
This short sets the entire tone for the rest of the movie. Though the first vignette is very funny and not too dark, the film – whilst always hilarious – becomes more serious with each tale. The six shorts stands on their own plot wise, but are connected thematically by their violent conclusions and commentary on Argentinian society.
It is so rare that an anthology film remains equally strong throughout its many stories, but Wild Tales accepts the challenge and succeeds immeasurably. While there isn’t necessarily any deeper meaning in its pieces or their conclusions, the ride to get there is more than worth taking.