Wild Tales offers six unrelated stories of people whose rage turns into action. Some of the films have twists worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. Some are reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Only one story moralizes. The rest just focus on what happens when we snap, each starting realistically, then growing more outlandish as it proceeds. Hesitant to watch a movie anthology? Just think of it as the first season of a hot TV series that you can binge watch in only two hours.
Argentine writer-director Damian Szifron's wild tales are in Spanish with subtitles. If you're like me (what a chilling idea), you'll get so caught up in the proceedings that you won't even think about that.
The film starts off with "Pasternak," a clever Hitchcockian tale that starts off with a casual conversation between two people (Maria Marull and Dario Grandinetti) and turns dark very quickly. Sadly, a recent, horrific real life event mirrors what happens in this story. To avoid spoilers, I'll just say this: Immediately before the film starts you should close your eyes and think, "This is a movie written and filmed months ago that has nothing to do with real life events. I will focus on the story, period." And while you're focusing on the story, make sure you consider the identities of two people by the pool.
Set at a diner at night, "The Rats" follows a waitress (Julieta Zylberberg) that realizes her only customer (Cesar Bordon) is a loan shark that drove her father to suicide. She tells her tale to the ex-con cook (Rita Cortese), who suggests an extreme revenge. All does not go smoothly.
In "Road to Hell," a businessman (Leonardo Sbaraglia) on an isolated stretch of road tries to pass the vehicle ahead of him, but the driver keeps swerving to block him. When he finally gets to pass, he screams an insult at the that driver. A few minutes later he gets a flat, which allows the other man (Walter Donado) time to catch up, and ... The segment covers familiar territory, but the intensity of the battle nears Itchy and Scratchy magnitudes.
Ricardo Darin plays a demolition engineer whose car gets impounded by predatory tow trucks in "Bombita." Reread the previous sentence and you can figure out where the segment goes.
The most serious film of the bunch is "The Bill," a story of the arrogance of a rich man. When a young man (Alan Daicz) kills a pregnant woman in a hit and run, his wealthy father (Oscar Martinez) and the family lawyer (Oscar Nunez) convince the poor groundskeeper to take the rap in return for money. The story is grimmer and more realistic than the others. Shame about that.
Luckily, the segment is followed by "Till Death Do Us Part," which shows what happens when a bride to be (Erica Rivas) discovers — at the wedding — that her fiancee (Diego Gentile) has been cheating on her with one of the guests. To say all hell breaks loose is to put it mildly.
Finally, "Fix This Now" follows a blundering governor (Mike Pence) with presidential aspirations who, working closely with three bigoted fanatics (Eric Miller, Micah Clark and Curt Smith), signs into law a "religious freedom" bill, only to have the entire nation, including big business, turn on him and the people of his state. The resultant pressure forces the governor to change the law to protect the very people it was intended to hurt.
Just kidding about that last one. Nothing that ridiculous could happen, even in a movie.
Review: Wild Tales
Opening: Friday at Keystone Art