Uneven Rage: A Review of ‘Wild Tales’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 08, 2015
Uneven Rage: A Review of ‘Wild Tales’

There are certain in ate pleasures that while we may never publicly admit to, we all secretly enjoy them even though we know how bad that they can be.  Wild Tales is that kind of movie, and while it is an uneven affair there are some gloriously decadent moments of insanity and going wild that our deep dark sides will take a fair bit of pleasure in.

It’s a thin line between love and hate as the mechanism of civilization that keeps our darker instincts at bay doesn’t always work.  Wild Tales is six distinct tales that take us to an occasionally barbaric place.  From the betrayal of a lover to a repressed past and the violence that is just bubbling underneath the surface in everyday life, Wild Tales tells stories about the unrepentant pleasure of losing control.

Like any anthology film, Wild Tales suffers from some pacing problems feeling a little too uneven, but when it works it fly like gangbusters all over the screen.

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Nominated for an Oscar at this past years ceremonies, there is enough in Wild Tales to grab you as it starts exceptionally strong with a macabre tale of man seeking revenge on everyone who ever did him wrong by arranging it so that they would all be on the same plane that would end up crashing, but writer/director Damián Szifron just doesn’t give it all enough common threads to really hold up under scrutiny.  While each episode does have a very distinct and rather outrageous sense of humor, I could never quite shake the feeling that other than their macabre sense of bloodlust that we can all relate too, there just wasn’t enough to tie it all together and it needed more to bring home as a complete piece.  Some worked fine as shorts, but others could have been fleshed out more while others needed to be trimmed.  Despite its energy it’s kind of a slight point that Szifron is trying to make as we are all one betrayal, be it by a spouse or one’s own government from cracking up and doing something truly nuts, and while revenge is a dish best served cold, it does need a certain amount of refinement and filtering that just wasn’t here in order to make it emotionally satisfying.

Across the board the performances were fine and it was hard not to get swept up in installments like “Bombita” starring Simón Fisher who gets his car towed away while trying to make it his daughter’s birthday party and decides to go on a rampage against modern autocracy as this one parking infraction invariably tears his life apart.  We can’t look away during “Hasta que la muerte nos separe” where a new bride finds out that her husband has been cheating on her with someone who is at the wedding and in “El más fuerte” where a moment of road rage goes very, very wrong.

Sadly, despite the high moments and with the likes of Pedro & Augustin Almodóvar on board as producers, Wild Tales never quite clicked as well as it should it have as the six different tales were just a little too much and didn’t evoke enough emotion despite the clear cut common thread.  A little less could have meant a lot more on a movie like this.

 

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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