aka “Relatos Salvajes”
Humans are animals. Mammals to be exact. Sometimes in life we are pushed to the edge. There are impulses we can’t control. Sometimes we are gliding on the razor blade with only inches between us and the final cut. Rated R of course, as all final cuts should be. “Wild Tales” are stories about people who made their final cuts with style. Disturbing, but extremely funny “Wild Tales” are one of the most original films in the last year. Argentinian “Oscar” nominee in “Best Foreign” category is one of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen but it’s also one of the best. Produced by Pedro Almodóvar and directed by Damián Szifrón “Wild Tales” are collection of short stories about humanity and the animal instincts gathered around social criticism, passion, revenge and corruption. All that in one movie gets you the unique compilation of emotions worth of going to the cinema, pay the ticket and genuinely enjoy.
The movie starts with an airplane tale. First of the six tales is very short but very catching. In the tale some shocking revelations will be made. The movie will profoundly examine the extent of the revenge. Surprising ending of the tale brings us into the wilderness of the darkest emotions. Same emotions we so often ignore when we think that we’re better than the rest. After the shocking ending of the scene we see the intro… Pictures of animals (mostly predators) are dominating the intro and they’re finished with a fox. There are predators and there is prey. There is also deceit. We must be prepared to see all that in the stories after the intro. We are just sophisticated animals, nothing more. We must see our animalistic nature mirrored in the movie. We must face the challenge of admitting the truth to ourselves. The question is, are we capable?
In the second tale of the movie we found ourselves in a diner. The guest arrived and the lunch is served. That lunch, however, questions the rules of revenge once again. It questions it differently. Here, the bad guy is an individual, his crimes are personal and revenge is logical. Can the individual in the corrupt society take justice into his own hands? That is the central question of this tale. One of the central questions in the movie too. I asked myself that exact question in the fourth tale. Every time it’s asked differently and every time the answer can be different. Point of view is important here. In the second story we learn that sometimes compassion just produces more extreme reaction. Predators don’t need compassion. They need merciless revenge. It doesn’t matter how hard it seems. Freedom of choice is an illusion if the predator makes your choices instead of you.
In the third tale we see the exteriors of Argentina. We can see the beauty of the land through the speeding Audi and one moment of disrespect will put in motion a series of events in which two people will try to prove that they are the alpha-males in the story. In many ways it is the most violent tale of the movie. When two stubborn males fight for territory only one can win and sometimes there is no winner at all. Sometimes the horns are clinched together forever and they’re destined to die that way. Who won? Nobody, because in the pissing contest rarely somebody does.
Forth tale is one of my favorites. “Bombita” tale. Our hero is on a bad streak. His car was picked up by the parking service and that alone puts his bad fortune in motion. His car was picked up four different times, wife is threatening him with divorce and he lost his job. This story could’ve been from Kafka’s universe. It’s a matter of time before he explodes. How will he do it and with what justification is an interesting story point. While in the second tale of the movie the revenge is individual here the revenge is on the system, it’s collective and more social. Here “The Bombita” is kind of Robin Hood. He reacts on injustice when everybody is silent. This story contains hope. It’s still dark and “wild” as the rest of them, but it raises the question which all the revolutionaries ask: How long can you poke the bear before he fights back?
Fifth story is maybe the weakest of the bunch. It’s the story in which wealthy kid causes an accident and his influential father tries to exploit the corrupt society to protect him from prosecution. It is the most realistic of all the tales. We can see that the greed of the corrupt octopus is stronger than father’s impulse to save his son from jail. How it’s all done and what the shocking finale is telling us can be themed for a debate. Sometimes when you bend the rules you never know what is hidden around the corner.
Sixth tale is one of the best in the collection. The good girl from the upper class is fulfilling her dream. She has a magnificent wedding and she’s a beautiful bride. When she realized that her newly wedded husband cheated on her and his lover is on the wedding too all bets went off. Her transformation was stunning. At that moment dark wedding begins and the conclusion is the most animalistic of all the tales.
“Wild Tales” are magnificent omnibus. Modern times can be wilder than those of the cavemen. In “Wild Tales” all masks are off. If you don’t hunt you will be hunted. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal.
Humanity is not important. When the society is inhuman then the only choice we have left is to be with the beasts. If you’re bitten, you bite back. After the feast is over you can be true to yourself.
If you’re still standing you can be human again. But you have to survive the wilderness to know that’s worth it. Brilliant movie. One of the best I’ve seen.