The opening scene of the Oscar-nominated Argentinian anthology film Wild Tales – in which a pilot deliberately crashes a plane occupied with all those who wronged him – plays decidedly uncomfortably in the wake of the Germanwings plane crash. But while that scene might make audiences uncomfortably shift in their seats, that sort of discomfort – while accidental in this case – is integral to the success of the film.
Yes, Wild Tales’ six stories – loosely tied together by an overarching theme of vengeance – are entertainingly told, innovatively imagined, and full of hilarious moments. And yes, the film looks amazing, executed with cleverness that’s reminiscent of Breaking Bad’s stunt-y camera angles (though not quite as ostentatious as that show could be).
But while Wild Tales – the Spanish Film Festival’s closing night film – is gloriously entertaining, underneath it resonates with a dark vein of dread, throbbing with barely-restrained rage. Victims and the vengeful alike are rich, privileged, selfish. They squabble over money and are infuriated by the most minor slights – selfish drivers, poorly-marked parking bays, cheating husbands (okay, that last one’s justifiable). Wild Tales should leave you feeling uncomfortable, conflicted at laughing at its suffering – that, in fact, is the entire point. Don’t miss it.