Wild Tales is Damian Szifron’s interesting look into the ‘extreme’. So uncompromising is his style that stories barely lie on the fringe of realism; But reality is bent just enough to underscore some very real and dreadful revelations. Six stories make up the film and each begin somewhat innocently as we’re introduced to characters that are easily relatable. Szifron’s ability to turn a story on its head and create a series of unpredictable events is seamless, and humour dances around at every corner. The tales are indeed wild and devilishly funny as ironic humour run alongside the exploration of human flaw and extremity as well as social injustice and political corruption.
Damian Szifron’s stories are outrageous. In one tale, a small quabble between two drivers leads to a deathmatch in the desert. In another tale, a wedding room becomes one of stifling dread as revenge is plotted and dark secrets are surfaced. Tragedy lies in the character’s own extreme methods which are brought about by the overwhelming circumstances that cage them. Wild Tales starts off with a light tone but soon you’ll realize that an air of dread and injustice start to permeate the seemingly sheltered membranes of the mundane characters. Argentinian bureaucracy frames itself in the background of each narrative, adding to that ‘push’ that will drive characters to their limit. Wild Tales is a smart satire of not just the failings of Argentinian society and politics but also our human capacity for extremism and revenge. To tip over the edge and wreak havoc, as it seems, isn’t too uncommon.
The narratives grow progresssively longer and deeper. The first takes place in an airplane where two people coincidentally know a person named Gabriel Pasternak. Soon, in an outrageous fashion, this link grows out of proportion as other passengers join in on the conversation; A dreaded truth awaits. The second is a microcosm of class injustice where a waitress realizes that the customer that has just entered the restaurant is a businessman who seized her parent’s property and preyed on her mother. An idea by her cook to poison the man triggers a series of unpredictable events. This narrative also expands on the lower-class’ deep feelings of aggrievement and nihilism. The third story shows how violence is personified. Two seemingly decent men drive each other mad (literally too) and a fight to the death is gruesome. After all, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind. Here, Szifron shows how the bloodthirst for vengeance is easily triggered and easily deadly.
The next three narratives follow a disgruntled explosives engineer who’s been victimized by a corrupt vehicle system, a father who’s desperately trying to use his contacts to prevent his son from being charged with manslaughter, and a wedding that turns an innocent bride into a bitter vengeance seeker. It’s best to leave the three narratives as it is right now to prevent spoiling the surprises. Ultimately, Relatos Savajes has alot to say about both human and societal failings. It’s sends across the message that revenge is not a dish best served cold but a dish best not to be served at all. Yet, with the injustices present in life, vengeance may be an inevitable flaw waiting to be unleashed. Wild Tales is not a perfect film, but it’s emotionally uplifting and cathartic.