Topic: Tale of Tales - Review and Discussion
I recently watched the Fantasy/Horror/Adventure film, Tale of Tales (Il Racconto dei Racconti).
From what I gather it is an adaptation of three separate 17th century Italian fables. In setting and theme, they are reminiscent of the Grimms fairytales many of us are already familiar with and seem to be just as graphic and often disturbing as Grimms' before they received their Disney rewrites.
I have mixed feelings about the movie overall. Tale of Tales cuts between the three stories to form a single overarching story. However I don't feel like there is enough of a through-line to justify this, nor are any of the three stories quite strong enough to stand on their own. Many scenes throughout the film are memorable and visually haunting. There was certainly a great deal of talent involved in the crafting of these vignettes.
The cast was great for the most part and performance were mostly good, though perhaps a few takes managed to slip through due to the very multi-national nature of the production (I feel sometimes when non-native English speakers direct other non-native English speakers in English speaking productions they don't always recognize a bad line reading).
I don't want to spoil anything unless people want to get a discussion going. So I'll leave it at this.
I think the material makes for a better trailer than a cohesive movie. The whole thing felt a little unsatisfying and it's frustrating because it was clear how much work went into the product. The details and choices made in the film are interesting, but their inclusion only seemed to raise questions rather than be simply for the purpose of world building. This movie seems to be 90% on the way to being something great, but is perhaps lacking enough plot or story to make everything gel. For some strange reason visions of Mulholland Drive began surfacing while watching this movie. They both excel at making me feel slightly uncomfortable and left wondering if I missed something, or am too dumb to understand exactly what is happening. It's possible that the age of imdb trivia, easter eggs and wikipedia, has ruined our viewing culture by demanding every detail and production design choice have intrinsic meaning or hidden reinforcement of themes. 400 years ago when these stories were first being told, the writers didn't have to defend themselves or their choices to all of us neckbeards and fanboys. They could make a story about immaculately conceived albino twins and a giant flea just because they goddamn wanted to.
TL/DR: Tale of Tales is like a Guillermo Del Toro fever dream. It's worth watching, but don't expect it to make sense (then again, maybe it never was intended to make sense).