Forget about all the brassy, effects-laden blockbusters crowding the multiplexes this summer: For sheer entertainment value, none are likely to top this Argentine-Spanish anthology of comic shorts. Rich in black humor and satirical invective, “Wild Tales” became the most successful Argentinian movie of all time when it was released there last year (under the title “Relatos Salvajes”), picking up an Academy Award nomination along the way. But its vision of the country — as a land of systemic injustice, populated by people who are venal, self-serving and given to outbursts of violence — probably isn’t one that the tourist board would endorse.
Written and directed by veteran screenwriter Damian Szifron, “Wild Tales” is split into six discrete stories, which feel like the kind of yarns you might hear in a seedy bar at 4 a.m. Lurid and gleefully cynical, the tales share some common themes: Characters are repeatedly pushed to the edge of reason, driven to reckless behavior by anger and a desire for vengeance. Irony and inequity reign supreme, encouraged by an uncaring bureaucracy. Oh, and these stories are often very funny indeed.