Following the corporeal dramas of Gomorrah and Reality, director Matteo Garrone presents something truly expected: a fulsome feast of gothic fantasy. Taking its cue from the folk stories of Giambattista Basile, Garrone presents a twisted tapestry of dark fairytales, all set around an accursed royal court. Salma Hayek plays a bitter queen on a bloody quest, while Vincent Cassel’s libidinous King is tormented by two mysterious sisters, and Toby Jones is another monarch who becomes obsessed with a giant flea.
Much like Game of Thrones, Tales of Tales offers yet another step in the rehabilitation of the fantasy genre, while also helping to reclaim the dark fairytale from its recent Hollywood reinvention as a teen genre. Garrone’s film is undeniably adult, but it leavens its outlandish episodes with a playful air that come across like The Princess Bride directed by Terry Gilliam. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2015, Tale of Tales is a visually wonderful and gloriously distinctive film experience.