For Reel

Tale of Tales (2015)
February 19, 2016, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Matteo Garrone
3.5 Stars
Tale of TalesLike last year’s Wild Tales, Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales is a film that revels in the very art of storytelling, weaving together the parallels of four key narratives that are unified in their extreme outlandishness. Unlike that film, however, Garrone’s vision seems intentionally meandering and dreamlike, hesitating on images such as Salma Hayek feasting on a sea creature’s heart in an ivory chamber. That image–of royalty mingling with the grotesque–is a running theme, suggesting the madness caused by institution. And yet, it is crucial to note that Garrone dedicates the film to his children, and it is perhaps not a coincidence that one of the first faces in the film is that of John C. Reilly. He is miscast as can be, but Garrone is likely privy to the fact that Reilly’s face itself has the power to generate a chuckle, his air of unpretentiousness at odds with the film he’s inhabiting. In these key choices, Garrone is insuring audiences that, despite the often deadpan delivery of the material, it is only to be taken so seriously. If the filmmaker’s intention is to intoxicate viewers with macabre, fantastical images, spinning a complex narrative involving strange twists of fate and tragedies, then Tale of Tales is undoubtedly a success.

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