“Wild Tales”

Susan Granger’s review of “Wild Tales” (Sony Pictures Classics)

 

Opening with one of the shortest and most amusing segments, Argentinean filmmaker Damian Szifron’s unconventional anthology is built around the psychological concept of revenge.

“Pasternak” deals with a fateful encounter on a plane, as a suave music critic (Dario Grandinetti) begins a conversation with a beautiful model (Maria Marull), seated across the aisle. Within moments, they discover they’re not the only people in business class with a connection to the model’s ex-boyfriend, Gabriel Pasternak. Think “Twilight Zone.”

“Rats” revolves around a waitress (Julieta Zylbergberg) in a roadside diner who discovers that her only customer (Cesar Bordon) is the loan shark who drove her father to suicide. When the ex-con cook (Rita Cortese) learns the truth, retribution seems inevitable.

As the cautionary “Road to Hell” begins, a rich, arrogant businessman (Leonardo Sbarglia) is driving his shiny, new Audi, rudely giving the finger to a redneck (Walter Donado) in an old Peugeot. Then when the Audi gets a flat tire, road rage takes over.

In “Bombita,” a Buenos Aires demolition engineer (Ricardo Darin), whose car keeps getting towed in streets that don’t have NO PARKING signs, destroys his career and his marriage.

“The Deal” finds a wealthy patriarch (Oscar Martinez) paying his gardener (German de Silva) to take the blame for a hit-and-run accident caused by his spoiled son (Alan Dalcz).

Finally, “Til Death Do Us Part” occurs during a festive wedding reception in which the bride (Erica Rivas) discovers that the groom (Diego Gentile) is cheating on her.

Writer/director Damian Szifron confidently links these diverse short stories around the same behavioral theme: what happens when people are pushed to the edge.  It’s an intriguing and compelling concept.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Wild Tales” is an inventive 9, one of the most entertaining Foreign Language films of 2014.