Name : Wild Tales/ Relatos Salvajes (2014)
Director Damián Szifron
Cast: Ricardo Darín, Oscar Martínez, Leonardo
Sbaraglia, Érica Rivas
Genre: Anthology, Drama
Language: Spanish (Argentina)
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video
Wild Tales is a collection of six stories set in modern Argentina and linked by a popular theme of vengeance. The film is a character study of seemingly ordinary people, much like you and me, who are forced to the breaking point by extraordinary circumstances. It is the past that haunts them at times, and external stimulation that pricks them on the head at other times that drives them insane. The film does a fantastic job of introducing the protagonists, setting conflict, and, most importantly, eliciting empathy – making you care for the characters and their circumstances, which is a common complaint in an anthology since there is less time to set up the characters and make them relatable. Despite the fact that the segments are set in Argentina, the conflicts that the characters face are similar – they are dealing with socioeconomic, political, and class problems.
The film lives up to its title, with each successive segment becoming more ferocious, culminating in a mayhem with more tonal changes than your average Korean film. What’s the best part? It’s successful! The segments are more about the characters than the storey, demonstrating the heights to which they can rise given human tendencies. While they can be extreme at times, you understand why they are acting the way they are, and you would have acted similarly if you were in their shoes.
This leads us to perhaps Wild Tales’ most effective technique: including the viewer in the storytelling. You don’t get 4, but you do get 2+2. The director does not spoon-feed the plot and instead leaves it to the viewer to link the dots, which allows for an enjoyable experience.
There’s nothing quite like the rush you get when you’re able to link the dots and feel intelligent. The film is also very approachable, with plenty to offer both general audiences and film buffs.