Cert: 15 Runtime: 133 mins Director: Matteo Garrone Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C.Reilly and Shirley Henderson
A feast for the imagination
Tale of Tales has caught my eye for sometime, ever since I saw the set photo of Salma Hayek chomping on a giant heart. This is a very rare cinematic sceptical! Rather than having paranormal horrors, superhero movies or re-boots. We get an epic fantasy film. Folklore is a strong part of my heritage and I always welcome learning about other countries folklore. So what is Tale of Tales about? The Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) is desperate for a child and will stop at nothing until she fulfils her wish – even if it means sacrificing the person who loves her the most. Princess Violet (Bebe Cave) will do anything for her father (Toby Jones) – but when he becomes obsessed with a giant flea and marries her off to a horrible monster, she must learn how to protect herself. The King of Longtrellis (Vincent Cassel) hears beautiful singing in the forest and is determined to find the woman with the lovely voice – but sight and sound don’t always find harmony in the end…
This is not a Disney fairy tale I assure you. The multiple stories are woven together in one underlying tragic theme, occasionally wicked Tale of Tales is definitely not for the weak. The most vexing thing about it is not the scandalous tale, but the slow pacing as it tries to deliver three nearly horror stories.The focus continuously shifts between monarchs from three separate kingdoms. Each of them is affected by equally peculiar plaguing events. Its screenplay is mixed feeling of innocence remnant and utter perversion. There’s a good quality of cast to ensure overall bizarre atmosphere, and make no mistake, these stories can be downright disturbing for some. The director even adds a couple gore scenes or rather appalling instances which are shockingly unexpected, even more so considering the colourful setting.
Visual is very good, the medieval vibe simply oozes from the scenery. It resembles a lively stage for dramatic play yet feels convincingly dreadful enough. Production, from make-up and costume, looks captivating and sometimes intimidating. As many TV series or movies adapt modernisation of fairy tales, this one is more memorable with the eccentric outlook and more modest on CGI usage.It can be a bit slow. The three stories span across more than two hours, so it takes its time. Fortunately, it sets the characters really well, but on the flip side, some of scenes feel plodding.