An anthology of six short scenarios, with a darkly comic theme of revenge. Gleeful, self-indulgent, revenge.
We shouldn’t side with the violence, yet we can’t help ourselves (mostly). In these short vignettes, director Damián Szifrón manages to give just enough background so that we understand exactly why the victims/perpetrators feel and act the way they do. We don’t have to agree with them, but it’s great fun watching them in action.
The exception is the (for me) darkest and least comic of the stories. In ‘the one about the hit-and-run’, there’s no comedy in the vengeance and very few laughs in the story. As it’s buried among the others, I’m reflecting only now on whether it is meant to be the carrier of the true message of the film – about corruption, wealth and power rather than revenge. It’s more fun watching the other 5 sections, but the real challenge is in the family’s reaction to the situation and the subsequent fallout. In fact, the more I think about it, the less comfortable I am.
However, my favourite sections have to be the Almodóvar-tinged first story (recent sad and horrific events notwithstanding), and Ricardo Darín’s ordinary bloke who’s just had enough of being a victim of the system and fights back.
I’ll look forward to more from Szifrón in the future.