By Chris Nashawaty
Updated February 19, 2015 at 06:35 PM EST
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Credit: Javier Juliá

Wild Tales

type
  • Movie
genre

A Best Foreign Language Film nominee from Argentina, Damián Szifron’s Wild Tales almost feels too audacious, too crazy, and, in some ways, too slight for the Oscars. A collection of six vignettes all connected by themes of victimhood and vengeance, and spring-loaded with ironic twist endings worthy of O. Henry, the film feels like Pulp Fiction filtered through the baroque pop sensibility of Pedro Almodóvar (one of the movie’s producers). Like all omnibus films, Szifron’s is a hit-or-miss affair. Some chapters are fully realized, while others feel like cheeky one-joke setups in search of a second or third joke. In one of the giddiest and most shocking segments, a rich jerk in a BMW mouths off to a truck driver as he tries to pass him on a rural highway, only to have the slight paid back in a road-rage melee that’s a cross between Steven Spielberg’s Duel and a violent Tom and Jerry cartoon. In another, Argentinean acting legend Ricardo Darin plays a put-upon husband and father who’s pushed to the breaking point after a string of parking tickets and bureaucratic red tape. The best episode—and perhaps the one that’s the sharpest commentary on 21st-century Argentinean daily life—centers on a wealthy father whose spoiled son has fled the scene of a car accident that killed a pregnant woman. Rather than face the music, the family pays off their gardener to confess to the crime. Needless to say, the plot doesn’t work out as planned. In the stylishly clever Wild Tales, nothing does. B

Wild Tales

Best Foreign Language Film nominee
type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 122 minutes

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