★★★★★ | Wild Tales
Pretty model Isabel is on a business trip and strikes up a conversation with a gentleman the other side of the aisle of the plane.
They quickly discover that they have a mutual acquaintance in Gabriel Pasternak who Isabel used to date and whom the man had once turned down for a College Grant. The woman seated in the row in front hears their conversation and proffers up that she once taught this same Gabriel Pasternak. Very quickly they establish that everyone on board had some sort of dealings with Gabriel, most of which had not ended happily, and they also discover that he had not only gifted them all their plane tickets but was one of the crew on board.
This is first of six extraordinary and wonderfully wicked hilarious short stories that all end badly and have one thing in common. I.e. vengeance. Created by Argentinian filmmaker Damián Szifrón each one is magically bizarre and all, nothing less than brilliant, show his delightfully warped imagination
In the second tale called ‘The Rats’ which is set in a remote roadside diner, the waitress discovers that her sole customer that night is a loan shark who had driven her father to kill himself. The cook, a tough female ex-con, declares that merely rebuking the man is not enough and she is determined that this will be his last meal ever. It’s followed ‘Road to Hell’ which is the bloodiest episode of the set, with its tale of road rage that so gets out of control when an arrogant hot-shot yuppie in an expensive Audi tries to belittle a country redneck in his beat up wreck. The fourth of Szifrón’s yarns ‘Bombita’ is about an unfortunate demolition engineer who is having a really bad day. His car is impounded when he stops for one brief moment to pick up a birthday cake for his young daughter. He is forced to pay a hefty fine to the rude staff at the compound to retrieve it, and then gets screamed at by his wife for completely missing the child’s party. It’s the last straw for her and she demands a divorce and so his car is towed away again and he literally explodes.
The penultimate tale is the only really serious one that is totally devoid of any humour. It’s the story of a very wealthy family whose son has killed a pregnant woman in a hit-and-run accident and they try and bribe their gardener to take the rap instead. Their ploy almost falls apart when everybody, including the Police, seems to want to ensure that they get the heftiest share of the hush money.
The rather spectacular finale has the very apt title ‘Till Death Do Us Part. It’s set at a Jewish wedding reception where the bride loses her big smile when she suddenly discovers that her groom has been having carnal knowledge with a very pretty younger girl in his office. The bride loses it big time and is determined that not only will her new husband suffer, so too will his family and inevitably all the guests too in an outrageous seemingly endless slapstick performance.
The pace never lets up in the entire 2 hours that for once just flies by as you sit on the edge on your seat unable to even guess what could possibly happen next. What is really quite delicious though is Szifrón’s subversive humour which sets this unique piece really apart and must be a major contributing factor in the movie getting a Best Foreign Picture Oscar Nomination. It also benefitted from an excellent cast, a stunning soundtrack from Gustavo Santaolalla, and the fact that it had the Almodovar Brothers as its Producers.
Wild Tales is really one wild ride that you will not want to miss. In UK cinemas now.