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TIFF 2014 Review: Wild Tales

Bleak, joyless, and mainly dispirited, Wild Tales nevertheless begins with a powerful, memorable and most importantly, funny vignette about a plane gearing up to take off. In the five subsequent Wild Tales, after a sly opening credit sequence focusing on the animal kingdom’s predatory creatures, the wheels fall off.

Intentionally or not, each of Damian Szifrón’s six Wild Tales focuses upon transportation, either explicitly, in the third tale, about an absurd confrontation between a pair of drivers, and in the fourth tale, about an engineer just plain fed up with parking tickets, or implicitly, as in the second tale when a mob boss comes to dine at a restaurant and a bus arrives to deliver a surprise.

The first vignette in Wild Tales, the departure on the plane, sets the tone for the rest of the film in that the characters are transported from their nobler elements to baser human elements. A major difference is the first Tale possibly sees justice served, while the remaining revenge-themed Tales seem to prey upon the innocent. Worse, Szifrón does not soften the blow, often aiming (and failing) to make his audience delight in suffering. More unforgivably, later stories become less funny (with the exception of the fourth perhaps).

The sixth tale perhaps best serves as a coda for the film as a whole, as a wedding guest receives her comeuppance from a truly disturbed bride. The ending verges on sadistic, as Szifrón appears to be trying to have his cake and beat it too.

[star v=25]