A fantasy horror story comprising of three strands, each following the ruler of a fairytale land.
This is an unusual turn from the director of gritty Italian crime drama Gomorrah; Tale of Tales feels more like something Guillermo Del Toro would come out with. It’s a gruesome, darkly funny take on some classic Italian fables, set in a world of monsters & monarchs. There’s a disturbing sense of realism to everything, which harks back to Pan’s Labyrinth.
The cast are well chosen, and everyone puts in a good show. Salma Hayek, Toby Jones and Vincent Cassel play the three monarchs, each with their own chunk of plot. They all carry the roles well enough that it’s hard to imagine the film without them, but no one steals the show.
Tale of Tales is let down by its rigid structure. Each ‘tale’ feels like it could have played out as a short film. Instead, Garonne jumps between stories quickly, and it just kills the pace of the film as a whole. The three don’t really relate to each other all that well, and as an audience it’s frustrating to see the story chopping and changing for no reason.
Despite this, Tale of Tales is one of a kind. It’s a colourful and often beautiful film. Where the plot sometimes struggles to make its mark, the visuals are more than enough to wow the audience. If only people put this much effort into every film they made.
Not one for the kids, but a must see for fans of the genre and people who like pretty pictures (or pretty people).