From Argentina, this Oscar-nominated collection of six short, sharp stories leaves us gasping for breath due to both riotous black comedy and deeply unnerving plot twists. Each segment is about people who are pushed beyond the tipping point, finding revenge in an unexpected way that feels both deeply horrifying and disturbingly satisfying. And even though it sometimes veers wildly close to being over-the-top, the film is written, directed and played with such brutal honesty that it can't help but rattle us to the core.
The prologue is titled "Pasternak", set on an airplane on which passengers are surprised to find out that they all have a connection to Gabriel Pasternak. But what does he have in store for them all? Next is "The Rats", set in a roadside diner where waitress Moza (Julieta Zylberberg) is unnerved to serve a loan shark (Cesar Bordon) who destroyed her family. The chef (Rita Cortese) thinks she should poison his food. "The Strongest" follows Diego (Leonardo Sbaraglia), a wealthy man driving his shiny car down a highway when he comes up to Mario (Walter Donado) hogging the road with his rattling clunker. Passing him with a volley of obscenities, Diego is then horrified when he has a flat tyre and knows who's coming down the road behind him.
The fourth clip is "Little Bomb", about demolition expert Simon (Ricardo Darin), who engages the city's bureaucrats in a quickly escalating war when his car is erroneously towed for parking illegally. "The Proposal" is the most cerebral segment, centring on a wealthy man (Oscar Martinez) trying to clear his teen son (Alan Daicz), who has just run down a pregnant woman in the street. The idea is to find a scapegoat. And in "Until Death Parts Us", a bride (Erica Rivas) discovers in the middle of their marriage reception that her new husband (Diego Gentile) has been cheating on her. Her reaction is neither calm nor measured.
Continue reading: Wild Tales Review
Revenge is a human beast that may consume even the most morally righteous of men and women in the world. It has no understanding of perspective and may sometimes lead people to commit outrageous crimes, all in the understanding of 'an eye for an eye'. In six intertwined stories, the theme of vengeance is explored: 'Pasternak' sees a man luring those who have wronged him onto a plane, 'The Rats' sees a chef carry out an act of revenge on behalf of his waitress, 'The Strongest' is road rage at its most intense, 'Little Bomb' is about an explosives expert who lands himself a parking ticket, 'The Proposal' describes a manipulated hit-and-run court case and 'Until Death Do Us Part' features probably the most traumatic wedding reception imaginable.
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When a couple discuss a mutual acquaintance, Gabriel Pasternak, on an aeroplane, they are surprised when the woman in the row in front of them turns around to interrupt their conversation. She happened to be Pasternak's teacher at elementary school, and remembers that he had screamed and cried when she had been forced to hold him back a year. She is then interrupted herself by an old student that also knew Pasternak and also happens to be on the plane. When a manager from Home Depot arises from a seat a few rows behind and announces that he used to employ Pasternak, someone asks if anyone else knew the mysterious figure. Everyone replies that they have.
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However, both girls have other outlets for their feelings. Josefina has a boy whom she allows to come over and have sex with her, but only if she's turned away from him and he doesn't talk. Amalia's passions take a darker bent one day when she's out in the street with a crowd watching a man playing a spooky piece on a Theremin, when one of the doctors in town for the conference comes up behind her and rubs up against her suggestively. They don't say a word and she barely sees him as he scurries off. In what most would take as an unfortunate turn of events, this Dr. Jano (Carlos Belloso) is the man whom Amalia's mother Helena (the impossibly beautiful Mercedes Morán) decides to spark up a relationship with. But Amalia seems to take this as a challenge, as she sets about trying to save Dr. Jano from his own darker impulses, a mission that takes on certain romantic shadings the more involved she gets.
Continue reading: The Holy Girl Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
From Argentina, this Oscar-nominated collection of six short, sharp stories leaves us gasping for breath...
Revenge is a human beast that may consume even the most morally righteous of men...
When a couple discuss a mutual acquaintance, Gabriel Pasternak, on an aeroplane, they are surprised...
Lucrecia Martel's The Holy Girl has its finger on something for sure, it's just not...