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Film / Wild Tales

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Because revenge is a dish best served cold...

Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) is a 2014 Argentine anthology film, starring Ricardo Darín, Nancy Dupláa, Érika Rivas and other actors. It comprises six short stories revolving around violence and vengeance.

Pasternak: As two passengers boarding a plane start to make small talk, the girl discovers her conversation partner is the music critic that destroyed the career of her former boyfriend, by the name of Pasternak. Another passenger was his teacher... and gradually, they discover that they all knew that guy... who happens to be their cabin chief. As they discover that Pasternak has locked himself inside the plane's cockpit, they realize too late why he has arranged to have them all on board at the same time...

Las Ratas (The Rats): After a loan shark named Cuenca has ruined her family (driving her father to suicide), a girl has moved away from her village and works as a waitress in a road diner... and the monster is now here, asking for a meal. Even worse, she discovers he's running for mayor. The girl refuses the cook's offer to put rat poison in his food, but the cook poisons it anyway. The waitress is now facing a moral dilemma, especially when Cuenca's son shows up as well, and starts eating from his dish...

El Más Fuerte (The Strongest): Diego travels by road in his brand-new Audi when he reaches Mario's old beat-up car who pretends to block his way. Diego overtakes Mario and insults him as he goes past, mocking him for being jealous. Later on, Diego gets a flat tire and proceeds to change his wheel. Unfortunately, Mario catches up with him, forcing Diego to take shelter in his car. Mario pulls up before him and proceeds to trash Diego's car, smashing the windshield and doing his business on the bonnet, jeering all the way and calling Diego a coward. Enraged, Diego proceeds to show him that he means business...

Bombita (Little Bomb): As Simón Fisher, a demolition engineer, is buying a cake for his daughter's birthday, his improperly parked car is towed away. After an attempt to dispute his parking ticket at the pound, fruitlessly arguing of the faded markings in the street, he grudgingly pays the towing fee to retrieve his car and shows up late to the birthday party, to his wife's annoyance. When he goes to pay the ticket, he tries again to dispute it, loses his temper, attacks the employee's booth and is taken away by security while the other people on the line cheer him on. His stunt makes it on the news, causing him to get fired, his wife demands a divorce and obtains full custody of their daughter. When his car is towed away once again, he finally decides to take revenge against those who ruined his life...

La Propuesta (The Proposal): Santiago, the son of a rich family drives back home after running over a pregnant woman and fleeing the scene. The accident makes the news after the woman dies, sparking a wave of outrage among the population. Mauricio, the father, calls his lawyer and together they ask his gardener to take the blame in exchange for half a million dollars. The police and the prosecutor arrives, followed by a crowd of angry protesters who start picketing before the family's house, demanding justice. The prosecutor sees through the scheme, so he has to be bribed as well. Then the lawyer ask for his share, the gardener demands an apartment on top of his and the prosecutor asks for an additional payment for bribes, to the annoyance of Mauricio who gets fed up with their increasing demands, especially as Santiago wishes to do the right thing and confess...

Hasta Que La Muerte Nos Separe (Until Death Do Us Part): In the middle of a wedding party, Romina, the bride, discovers that her husband, Ariel, has an affair with a coworker who happens to be one of the guests. She confronts him during a dance and runs away in despair. After being comforted by a kitchen worker, she swears revenge on her cheating husband and proceeds to "liven up" the party...

Not to be confused with the Bulgarian anthology of short stories by the same name.

This film provides examples of:

  • All There in the Script: The credits inform us that the elderly couple that Pasternak kills were his parents.
  • Amoral Attorney: The one during the penultimate story takes the prize, actively manipulating everyone to get some money of his client.
  • Anthology Film: Six stories in one film.
  • Asshole Victim: There is hardly any sympathy for the stabbed usurer in the second story.
  • Awful Wedded Life: In, Until Death Do Us Part, Romina threatens an exaggerated example of this to Ariel. She makes it sound so unpleasant, its enough to make Ariel puke his guts out.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The final story has this. After escalating fights, threats and arguments the recently married couple just end up making out over the wedding table.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mario, the redneck driver from the third story, is a good example of why you shouldn't just insult random people on the road. You never know if someone might actually retaliate, and disproportionately at that.
  • Black Comedy: All of the films have characters commit horrific violent acts, and many of them are depicted comically.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: In "Hasta que la muerte nos separe," Romina throws Ariel's coworker into a mirror, badly injuring the coworker and getting blood on her wedding dress.
  • The Butler Did It: Invoked as the solution for the hit-and-run dilemma where the father comes up with the idea of making the gardener the Fall Guy.
  • Call-Back: During the second story, the psychotic chef explains that prison ain't so bad and you can actually have fun there. Cue to the third story, where "Bombita" gets thrown into jail and that suddenly makes his life better.
  • Carfu: The Audi driver uses his car as a weapon against his opponent.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Fisher's work with explosives was first seen in an introductory scene, and then forgotten. For all we care, he could have had any other job. And then, it becomes important again when he makes a calculated terrorist attack.
  • Children Are Innocent: What eventually motivates the waitress to try and take away Cuenca's poisoned food is the arrival of his son, Alexis. The cook has no such qualms and reckons that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree".
  • Cleanup Crew: The attorney in the hit-and-run story is busy cleaning up the mess.
  • Collective Groan: Barely audible at the ending, when the married couple leave their differences behind and start making out. All the other guests just do that and leave.
  • Compartment Shot: The movie likes these POV shots. Besides a Trunk Shot, we also get a shot from inside an overhead locker on an airplane as well as a shot form inside a cupboard in a kitchen.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: The cook in Las Ratas kills Cuenca with a big knife, screaming "I will chop your liver like a chicken"!
  • Did Not Think This Through: Diego obviously did not consider the effects of setting off a fire extinguisher in an enclosed car, and almost asphyxiates himself.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The various things people did to Pasternak that apparently warranted him killing them in a mass plane crash include giving his music a bad review, firing him for being a bad employee, turning him down when asked to go out with him, and raising the rates at therapy.
    • Diego insulted Mario on the road. Mario, as any reasonable human would, later proceeds to try to destroy the former's car while he's vulnerable, including pissing and shitting on the windshield.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Dramatic thunder comes up during the Rooftop Confrontation in the Wedding story.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The usurer from the second story drove the waitress's father to suicide through his loans.
    • In the last story, after learning of her husband's infidelity, Romina ends up on the hotel's roof. The Top-Down View of the hotel and the street below leaves little doubt on her intent before the kitchen worker comes to her.
    • Subverted when, shortly after Ariel's mother's attempt to throttle Romina, Ariel snaps out of his breakdown and walks a little away from the scene. Then a loud bang makes everyone jump... which turns out to be Ariel popping out a champagne's bottle which he proceeds to drink from.
  • Escalating War: The third story, culminating with both character's death. The final story might also count.
  • Excrement Statement: Mario does this on the top of Diego's car while the latter has locked himself inside in fright.
  • External Combustion: Simón Fisher's revenge consists of this. He only intends to cause property damage though.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The film opens with a shot of María Marull's high heels and wheeled case she struts towards the check-in desk at the airport.
  • Flipping the Bird: The Audi driver does this to his opponent in the road rage story.
  • Freudian Excuse: Pasternak's psychiatrist claims that Pasternak's problems stem from his parents expecting too much from him.
  • From Bad to Worse: El Más Fuerte, Bombita, and Hasta que la Muerte Nos Separe especially. Bombita, in particular, realistically showcases how an average man's life can go straight to hell in just a few days.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Fisher has many angry outbursts through his misadventures at the towed-car lot, the city council desks (where he completely loses it and starts battering at the clerk's booth with a fire extinguisher), the arbitration audience for his divorce and the mining company he attempts to apply to. When his car gets towed away from the second time however, he slips into a state of Tranquil Fury to properly set up his revenge.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Pasternak crashed the airplane into the house of a couple of elders, which turned out to be his parents.
  • Jerkass: Many, but the client from the second tale may be called the prime offender, forcing a man to kill himself and then going right for his mourning wife, as well as being rude to the waitress (who happens to be their daughter).
  • Ma'am Shock: The male equivalent happens in "Pasternak" with the music critic saying that he felt like he was in the fifth circle of Hell when the model addressed him as 'sir'. He blames it on his receding hairline making him look older than he is.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Pasternak's psychologist says his parents ruined his life, not the people on the plane. He intends to kill them as well anyway.
  • Murder-Suicide: The pilot of the introductory story crashes the plane on an elderly couple's house, killing himself, all the people on the plane and the aforementioned couple which are his parents.
  • My Car Hates Me: Diego's Audi gets a flat tyre at the worst possible time and place. And while the wheel falling off is entirely Diego's fault, it still happens at the worst possible moment. And when the airbag deploys, it fails to deflate, leaving him pinned inside the car.
  • No Sympathy: When Ariel's mother cries due to the ruined wedding, Romina wants to film it and show it at her future weddings and to her future children.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The main issue during the third story, Bombita. The main character has his life constantly ruined because of this.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several.
    • From the plane's passengers of the first story, when the stewardess reveals that Pasternak is their security officer and has locked himself inside the cockpit. The elderly couple as well when they realize the plane is coming crashing straight down onto them.
    • The waitress of the second story, though already bothered by the poisoning attempt in progress, has this when Cuenca's son shows up and starts digging in his fries.
    • In the third story, Diego when, in the middle of changing his wheel, Mario shows up.
    • In the last story, Lourdes when she notices Romina is the one who's calling her with Ariel's cell phone and is looking straight at her.
  • The Pampas: In The Rats, the road diner is in a railroad in the middle of... nothingness.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Diego's Audi. The way Mario destroys it is what sends Diego over the edge, causing him to attack Diego.
  • Prison Rape: A colleague is concerned about this in Bombita, when the protagonist is released from jail.
  • Rage Against the Legal System: The protagonist in Bombita blows up the car park of a car-towing company after his car was unjustifiably towed away twice and his case was blocked by an Obstructive Bureaucrat from the tax office.
  • Rage Breaking Point: The entire premise of the movie. Exploring how one or more parties can lose their cool when under specific circumstances.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Romi delivers a long speech to Ariel about how much she hates that he cheated on her, and how she plans to cheat on him and take everything he owns when he dies.
  • Reunion Revenge: A variant in the first film. Everybody who ever slighted Pasternak is reunited on a plane so he can kill them in a plane crash.
  • Revenge: All the stories are themed around slighting the person who did you wrong.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Diego, after the first fight of the third story, finally manages to drive away after pushing Mario off the road. However, when Mario runs after him, shouting about how he got his license plate number and promises to make him pay, he makes a U-turn and tries to run him over. Too bad he forgot that he didn't have the time to fasten his replacement wheel properly...
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: As the married couple start to have sex on the table with the wedding cake, the camera pans away, focusing on the toppers on the ground... and the pieces of cake that fall all over them.
  • Soft Glass: Averted in the Wedding story. The mirror crashing leaves very bloody wounds all over the girl's body.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Mario and Diego attempting to murder each other inside the latter's car while the radio plays "Lady, Lady, Lady" from Flashdance.
  • Spinning Paper: In Bombita, the aftermath of the explosion is compressed in newspaper headlines of the case and reactions in society.
  • Spotting the Thread: In the penultimate story, the prosecutor discovers that the gardener wasn't the one who drove the car when he notices that the rear-view mirrors aren't adjusted to his sitting position.
  • Stab the Salad: Near the end of the last story, after guzzling some champagne, Ariel makes his way to the wedding cake table, draws the knife sitting upon it, to the concern of the guests... and cuts himself a slice of cake.
  • Stress Vomit: In the Wedding story during the Rooftop Confrontation, Ariel throws up when his wife tells him she will make his life a living hell after finding out about his affair.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The ending of Bombita. The hero ends up in prison but his wife and kid return to him and he gets public approval for his deed, all of which seems to make him very happy.
  • Taking the Heat:
    • To ensure the waitress won't get blamed for the attempt to poison Cuenca (as well as both to save her friend from being assaulted by him and because she obviously wished to do the bastard in), the cook stabs him to death with a kitchen knife and gets arrested by the police, giving the waitress a knowing wink as she's taken away.
    • The gardener in the fifth story gets paid $500,000 to do it for his employer's son. This backfires on him when, as he's taken away by the police, the husband of the pregnant victim decides to take justice into his own hands...
  • Taking You with Me: Mario hangs Diego with his car's security belt and tries to blow up the car with a lit rag in the gas tank to do away with him. However, Diego manages to prevent Mario's escape and both die in the explosion.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In Las Ratas, the waitress refuses the cook's offer to put rat poison in Cuenca's food, but the cook poisons it anyway.
  • Tempting Fate: In Bombita, a woman at the car-towing company's office mentions that it looks like they won't stop harassing citizens until a tragedy occurs. Cue the car park's blowing up.
  • Together in Death: A non-romantic example is present in the ending of the third story. The police come to see the site of the explosion and a pair of officers think they were a couple.
  • Tranquil Fury: Fisher, when his car is being towed away yet again.
  • Trunk Shot: When Simón Fisher loads explosives into the trunk of his car.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Blowing up the DMV that forces drivers to pay fines before they're allowed to dispute tickets? Sure, he was jailed for terrorist charges, but for everybody else "Bombita" is a urban hero. Social networks are abuzz with praises of his act and calls for his release and a guy even asks him to blow up the AFIP (the Argentinian equivalent of the IRS). He even reconciles with his proud wife and daughter and celebrates his birthday surrounded by cheering inmates.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Alexis, after witnessing his father getting repeatedly stabbed to death, regurgitates the fries he was eating earlier (which unwittingly saves him from being poisoned). The vomiting is hidden from the camera.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Ariel vomits onscreen upon taking the brunt of Romina's vicious pledge of revenge against him.
  • Wall Bang Her: Romina and the chef have sex up against an air conditioning unit on the roof the hotel.
  • Wedding Smashers: During her wedding reception, Romi becomes a Woman Scorned discovers that her new husband has been having an affair with one of his co-workers. She proceeds to go on a rampage that leaves her husband humiliated, her rival hospitalised, and the reception in a shambles.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Having problems with the rat poison? Then kill the guy with a butcher's knife, and get on with it.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The waitress in the second story. The cook, however...
  • Woman Scorned: Romina in the last story gets so upset over Ariel cheating on her that she maliciously sleeps with another man, brags about it to Ariel while boasting that she can't wait to take everything he owns in the divorce, and then she maims his coworker.
  • The Voice: Pasternak in the first story is only ever heard over the plane loudspeaker.

Alternative Title(s): Relatos Salvajes