Film Review: ‘Wild Tales’ Boldly Catalogs the State of Civilization

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Road rage, parking fines and weddings are unlikely subjects designed to showcase criminal inhumanity, but “Wild Tales” – from Argentina – takes those common themes and provides some lessons on the breakdown of our civilizaton, in a momentous prologue and five stellar stories. Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

Personally, this is the nominated film that should have won the Best Foreign Language Film, because of its commonality and recognizable expression. After the audacious prologue, the titles are shown over animals in the wild, which in actuality we still are, and still inhabit. The five “wild tales” (“Relatos salvajes” in its native title) highlight murder, deception, betrayal, ignorance and the bliss of “civilization” that results from all of these societal ills. Yet as a whole it’s not a downer, because writer/director Damián Szifrón adds the spice of dark humor and a strange hope at the end. We are the sum of all our parts, but our animal instincts are really what has made us, and it remains a survival of the fittest.

The prologue of the film takes place on airliner, and the rest of the five stories are in the following situations – at a diner with a waitress and her cook (“Las Ratas”); two men on a lonesome highway (“El más fuerte); parking tickets and its victim (“Bombita”); a dire situation involving a hit-and-run (“La Propuesta”); and a wedding gone blissfully wrong (“Hasta que la muerte nos separe”).

Along the way there are bad decisions all over the place, social class warfare, the crassness of buying off others, the frustration of faceless government and the sauciest betrothal this side of “bridezilla.” All the stories are recognizable and many of the situations have been experienced, but here there are taken to another level. We have met the enemy, and they are us.

”Wild Tales” continues its limited release in Chicago on February 27th. See local listings for theaters and showtimes. Featuring Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaragila, Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese and Julieta Zylberberg. Written and directed by Damián Szifrón. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Wild Tales”

Érica Rivas
I Knew the Bride (Érica Rivas) in ‘Wild Tales’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Wild Tales”

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