Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in cause stress and depression for many people. Most face them on bended knee - but some of them explode. This is a film about those people.
Comprising six stories of apocalyptic revenge, Wild Tales is a blackly comic series of vignettes on what it means to lose control. By turns shocking, hilarious, violent and preposterous this exhilarating thrill-ride produced by Pedro Almodóvar is one that you're never going to forget.
Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to have a single movie that is comprised of a series of short stories that are only loosely connected. I'm thinking of things like the original 'Tales From The Crypt' films or 'The Twilight Zone: The Movie,' where there is a central premise and the following short stories spiral out from there. In the case of 'Wild Tales' the main idea behind the whole venture is put people in a tough, stressful situation and push them in to going great distances for the ultimate revenge. While intended to be a comedy, the results are mixed as some stories are funny, others are brutal, and one in particular is in pretty bad taste after recent world events.
Pasternak - All of the people on an airplane through conversation and chance meetings come to learn that they all have in common one particular thing - they all wronged a man named Pasternak, who just so happens to be the pilot of the aircraft with his own designs for revenge.
Las Ratas - A waitress at an out of the way dinner realizes that her lone customer is a man who drove her father to suicide. She fantasizes about revenge while the cook is more than ready and willing to take action.
El Más Fuerte - Road rage gets more than a little out of control when a stranded motorist accidentally slights a passing car creating a bitter roadside brawl.
Bombita - A demolitions expert decides to use his talents to fight bureaucracy when his car is ticked and towed for no reason and still has to pay all of the fines.
La Propuesta - The well-to-do father has to clean up after his spoiled brat of a son when the kid is involved in a deadly auto accident.
Hasta Que la Muerte No Separa - When a bride learns her husband-to-be has been cheating on her, she plots her own form of vicious revenge.
Now I get it that 'Wild Tales' is supposed to be a black comedy and that this sort of humor is going to be hit or miss. As someone that relishes fail videos and enjoys the idea of bad things happening to good people in funny ways - some of these short stories really don't work for me. Shorts like Bombita and Hasta Que la Muerte No Separa are actually delightfully funny in their setups for a bad situation and how a normally decent and good person will go to great lengths to get revenge. Then you have a short like El Más Fuerte where the setup is there for a solid 'Duel'-like act of road rage revenge, but then it just gets disgusting. I was loving it when the crazy driver was beating the crap out of the stranded motorist's luxury sports car - but then he decides to (thankfully out of frame) take a crap on the man's windshield. I didn't need to see that. Unfortunately what does this movie in for me is the opening segment Pasternak. Had I seen this film two or three years ago - I would have absolutely thought this was incredibly creative and funny, but given recent events involving a German pilot using an airplane full of passengers to commit suicide - the humor isn't there anymore. Granted, this movie was made over a year before that incident, so I don't blame writer director Damián Szifron for being insensitive or crass, it's just not funny now.
As a whole the experience of these short stories may work better for some folks than others. It does require a particularly twisted sense of humor. I may not have loved the whole endeavor as much as I hoped I would considering the international accolades it garnered, but I did manage to see some of the humor and get a bit of enjoyment out of it. For me Bombita was my absolute favorite as I had a similar experience in college involving my car being assessed fines and ticketed when it was legally parked in my assigned spot the entire time. That was my ultimate fantasy played out on screen so I got a big smile out of that. If you're someone that is overly sensitive about where your humor comes from and "politically correct" is something you use in your vocabulary often - this movie isn't for you. If you delight in the plight of others and seeing how they get revenge, you should have a great time.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Wild Tales' makes its US Blu-ray debut thanks to Sony Pictures pressed on a Region A and Region B locked BD50 disc. Housed in a standard case, the disc opens through trailers for other Sony Pictures Classics releases before arriving at the main menu.
Wild Tales' boasts an impressively beautiful 2.39:1 1080p image quality. A lot of the fin for this picture comes from the fact that each little short story looks unique and separate from the next.Over all detail levels are exquisite allowing for a wonderfully textured feel for each of the shorts. Likewise black levels and shadow separation allow for plenty of three dimensional pop. Colors get a lot of work out and boast some incredibly pleasing hues letting primaries have their place and presence without kicking flesh tones out of balance. Its the fine details that make this presentation so impressive and the fact that so much care and intricacy was taken with each short makes this HD transfer all the more impressive to see on Blu-ray.
Much like the picture presentation, 'Wild Tales' offers a unique and interesting DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is crystal clear throughout so you never have to struggle to hear what is being said over sound effects or music. Like the picture, the fact that each story is given its own unique sound design keeps you on your toes. One moment things sound soft, pondering, and subtle. The next moment the track bursts to life with a crazed maniac beating another man's car in with a tire iron. As volatile as the shorts can be, the mixes never get out of whack ensuring that levels remain spot on. Also nice to hear is that the subtleties of the surround elements as background noises and filler elements really work to create some impressive imaging and atmospheric nuances.
An Evening At The Toronto International Film Festival with Damián Szifron: (HD 6:46) It's a quick but nice little Q&A, I feel like the language barrier is what keeps this one from being longer than it is. I'd loved to know more or hear more from him.
Wild Shooting: Creating The Film: (HD 24:58) A solid cast and crew interview piece that talks about the intricacies of each short and the production as a whole.
Theatrical Trailer: (HD 2:11) A solid little preview that gives you and idea what its about without giving away the show.
'Wild Tales' certainly isn't a comedy that is destined to work for every one. In fact I wouldn't recommend this movie for most of the people I know just for the sake that I don't know their exact personal proclivities towards decidedly un-PC comedy, however, if this is your particular brand of bitter scotch - give it a go. While I didn't love every short, I got enough of a laugh to still have some fun. With a flawless A/V presentation and a couple decent extras, I'm still going to call it as being worth a look since I know it will only appeal to a select few.