(director/writer: Damian Szifron; cinematographer: Javier Julia; editors: Pablo Barbieri/Damian Szifron; music: Gustavo Santaolalla; cast: Pasternak segment: Maria Marull (Isabel), Monica Villa (Profesora Leguizamón), Dario Grandinetti (Salgado); The Rats segment: Julieta Zylberberg (Waitress), Rita Cortese (Cook), Cesar Bordon (Loan-shark); Road to Hell: Leonardo Sbaraglia (Diego), Walter Donado (Mario); Bombita: Ricardo Darín (Simon Fischer), Nancy Duplas (Victoria); The Deal: Oscar Martinez (Mauricio), Maria Onetto (Helena), Alan Daicz (Santiago, the son), Osmar Nunez (Lawyer), German de Silva (The Gardener); Till Death Do Us Part: Érica Rivas (Romina, The Bride), Diego Gentile (Ariel, The Groom); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Hugo Sigman, Pedro Almodovar, Agustin Almodovar, Esther Garcia, Matias Mosteirin; Sony Pictures Classics; 2014-Argentina-Spain-in Spanish with English subtitles)

“A wickedly funny farce about the blurred lines of morality crossed when seeking revenge.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Argentine writer-director Damian Szifron (“On Probation”/”Bottom of the Sea”) presents six shorts connected by the theme of revenge. It’s a wickedly funny farce about the blurred lines of morality crossed when seeking revenge. It was the Argentine nominee for the foreign-film Oscar. The six shorts are “Pasternak,” “The Rats,” “Road to Hell,” “Bombita,” “The Deal,” and “Till Death Do Us Part.” Pasternak, the weakest of the six segments, takes place on a jet where the passengers, all strangers, soon realize they were brought together by this character named Gabriel Pasternak who feels each of them did him wrong and he wants to get back at them. In The Rats a roadhouse diner waitress (Julieta Zylberberg) recognizes the only diner in the place as the terrible loan-shark (Cesar Bordon) from her hometown who caused her father’s suicide, and serves him the rat poison put in his eggs against her wishes by the upset ex-con cook (Rita Cortese). In the Road to Hell, the funniest black comedy of the segments, a reserved driver (Leonardo Sbaraglia) on an empty highway gives the finger to an out of control anger-management disturbed driver (Walter Donado) who wouldn’t let him pass. That leads to a deadly outrageous road rage incident. In Bombita, a solid urban tale of angst, a demolition engineer (Ricardo Darín) has his car unjustly towed away from a No-Parking zone without any markings and can’t deal with the bureaucracy ignoring him. It leads to him trying to get back at the bureaucracy responsible but in the process of protesting loses his cool, his good job and happy marriage. He ends up serving jail time for demolishing the crooked towing company’s parking lot of towed cars. In The Deal, the most unpleasant segment of class warfare and entitlement, the effete son (Alan Daicz) of a manipulative wealthy businessman (Oscar Martinez) is the hit and run driver that kills a pregnant woman and her unborn child. His father arranges for the long-time gardener (German de Silva) to take the rap for a big cash settlement. But things get crossed up when the sleazy business lawyer (Osmar Nunez) and crooked prosecutor make a money grab at the vulnerable father, who is afraid his son wouldn’t be able to handle jail time. The last segment, Till Death Do Us Part, probably the best of the six shorts, does a number on a Jewish wedding. The jealous bride (Érica Rivas) has a violent meltdown when she finds out the wealthy adulterous groom (Diego Gentile) has cheated on her with one of the attractive wedding guests.

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