Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film tend to be of a very high standard. Two of the best films from last year, Leviathan and Ida, were both in the mix, but the winner turned out to be a Mauritanian film called Timbuktu. Also in contention were Tangerines and the Argentine entrant, Wild Tales. Damián Szifrón’s film is a collection of six short stories built around the theme of actions, consequences and revenge.
In Pasternak, a group of passengers on a plane realise that they’re all connected to one person, Gabriel Pasternak. Unfortunately for them, they’ve all upset him in one way or another and he happens to be the pilot. The Rats focuses on a waitresses revenge whilst The Strongest is a battle of wills between two motorists. Little Bomb features an explosive expert pushed to his limit by bureaucracy whilst The Proposal is about a family trying to cover up their son’s hit and run. The final story is Unto Death Do Us Part, which takes place at a wedding where the bride finds out about her new husband’s infidelity and takes revenge.
Anthology films are prone to be patchy but Damián Szifrón does a superb job of connecting the tales through the theme of revenge. The best story is undoubtedly The Strongest which is a wonderfully acted and well-paced duel between two motorists. The comedy is very dark, and that’s a theme throughout Wild Tales. The other stand-out segment is Unto Death Do Us Part featuring a spellbinding performance from Érica Rivas as the vengeful bride. Each segment holds up on its own, and Wild Tales as a whole is a magnificent ride.
Wild Tales is out in cinemas and on demand on today.