There are giant animatronic beasts and ogres and flayings and all manner of comeuppance, and it’s all presented with a narrative modesty that belies the opulence on screen. It’s wonderful. Stories like these endure because they’re imminently tellable, and Garrone has told the heck out of them.
Reacting to the film’s premiere at last year’s Cannes, some complained that its three tales were artlessly tossed together. I can’t agree; for me, the film’s open weaver is an evocation of the orla tradition wherein all fairytales have their beginnings. There is something conversational, suitably pedestrian, about Garrone’s loose, informal structure.
June 03, 2016
Love and family are astonishing letdowns for all concerned. With a focus on corporeal gore and psychological realism, Tale of Tales attempts to re-Grimmify the fairy tale, rather than fracture or deconstruct it à la the sly Into the Woods or The Princess Bride. The result is a film that doesn’t wink at the viewer as much as stare aghast at the self-interested evil that humans do.
Three tales subdivided in a few segments that don't fit quite well as a movie. It probably works better in book than film, but Garrone brought together some wonderful visuals that I have never seen before on screen.
Technically gorgeous film with amazing set design, costume and exquisite cinematography by Peter Suschitzky. Garrone's adaptation of fairy tales by Basile make for a debauched, grim(m), macabre and sensual experience. Sea monsters, albino twins, crones, giant fleas, ogres and a heart eating queen are just some of the bizarre elements within. Cast is more than game here with some wonderful characterizations within.
What could have amounted to a gorgeous anthology of grim (fairy) tales set in far-away kingdoms with a stellar cast, ended up being a muddy and overwhelmingly dull web of story fragments with nothing being used to its full potential. Some great moments followed by some poor moments, over and over, for two hours. Disappointed, to say the least.
The secret to enjoying Garrone's three Neapolitan tales of desire and obsession is accepting the dead-pan seriousness: John C. Riley battles a giant sea monster in ridiculous deep-sea armor, Vincent Cassel's oversexed king fucks a hideous freak and Alba Rohrwacher's incredulous gypsy meets a hilariously vicious end. Made for under $15 million, you will also be hard-pressed to find anything this exquisitely crafted.
Visually stunning at times yet frustratingly empty at others. Could it have been crazier to get more Fellinian ? Or would that have made if even harder to digest like a Gilliam piece ? Hard to know, but yet the Peacock and Hills have eyes moments were fabulous amid a river of more or less fascinating storiettes.
A magnificent and terrifying "fairy tale" based on the works of Basile. The film follows three different and nightmarish haunting narratives and they are intercut so perfectly. Garrone's baroque direction is also reminiscent of Fellini' "Satyricon" but "Tales" definitely stands out well without much comparison. And my god, the artistic direction and score are beautiful. I'm in awe of this film.
Tale of Tales is Garrone's raised middle finger to Disney Corporation - the film is about the evil consequences of power, idiocy, greed, and corruption. Hard not to appreciate an Italian director inviting Hollywood to go screw itself. The ultimate fairy tale.