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Film review: WILD TALES, from ‘Built For Speed’

The superb Argentine omnibus drama Wild Tales (which was the closing night film of the Spanish Film Festival) comprises five separate stories, all directed by Damián Szifron.  The episodes often recall the disturbing fables of Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone and nearly all are riveting.  

Each story presents an unusual take on the notion of revenge and the breakdown of the social order.  Arguably, the most entertaining and for many viewers identifiable episode, concerns an engineer (Simon Fischer) who, after receiving what he believes is an unjust parking fine and having his car towed away, sees his life spiral out of control much like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.  His profession, however, provides him with a unique opportunity for revenge.  Almost as good is the episode featuring an alarming road rage incident that escalates into monumentally disgusting behaviour and psychotic violence.  Another episode involving an attempt to cover up a hit and run provides a poignant look at the way in which the wealthy attempt to exploit and manipulate those over whom they have economic power.

The stories don’t always have the twists, revelations and moral lessons of the Twilight Zone and aren’t quite as dark and acidic as those in Black Mirror but each is cleverly conceived, tightly constructed, tense, well-directed, confronting and often funny.  The first story in the film also has remarkable and disturbing resonances with a recent airline tragedy.

The final instalment involving a disastrous wedding goes on a bit long but otherwise there’s hardly a weak moment in the entire film.

Nick’s rating: ****.

Genre: Drama/ Comedy.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Damian Szifron.

Release date: 21stMay 2015 (and 10th May at the Spanish Film Festival)

Running time: 122 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show 

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