The fairy tale genre is in something of a renaissance, with films like the Shrek franchise, live action remakes of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and TV shows like Once Upon A Time and Grimm. Well we have something new with this weird and dark film, Tale of Tales.
The film follows three very different and distinct storylines. Firstly we have Salma Hayek’s queen who turns to sorcery to have a child, and results in not only in a son being born to the queen, but an identical son born to a servant. The second follows a King and his daughter, Violet. As the King ignores his daughter to raise a Flea, Violet seeks to get out and find a husband. In the final segment a King hears a woman singing in the village, and believing her to be a young woman pursues her. It transpires that the house she lives in is actually home to two elderly women Imma and Dora. Dora decides to play the King in hopes of getting gifts and status. On the whole I loved how dark and twisted these fairytale adaptations were, it is far more in keeping with traditional fairy tales, which all have dark and horrifying endings.
A huge part of Tale of Tales is the visuals. So much if this film is visually stunning. The cinematography on this is utterly fantastic, and Peter Suschitzky has done a fantastic job. The use of the camera, with some long tracking shots, vibrant reds contrasting with the and clear whites of the castles and the lush greens of the forests, this is one of the best and most beautifully filmed movies of the year. Right up there along with The Revenant as films that have to be seen on the big screen for the visual splendour alone. The use of visual effects only to supplement the practical one, means the creatures in the film don’t feel fake or out of place at all. This film is a visual masterpiece, and one that deserves to be seen in cinemas.
Tale of Tales has a lot of very talented actors in the cast. As well as Salma Hayek as a queen, we also get John C. Reilly, all-be-it briefly, and the hugely talented Tony Jones. Toby Jones is the stand out for me. But alongside these very experience and bigger name actors there are also some younger, new actors. Twins Christian and Jonah Lees (I actually thought it was the same actor playing both roles when I saw the film) play Elias and Jonah, whilst Bebe Cave gives a fantastic performance as Violet. Meanwhile in the final storyline Shirley Henderson and Hayley Carmichael play the old women and Vincent Cassel the lustful King all give good performances as well.
Tale of Tales offers an alternative to the fairly generic fantasy films that have been offered to us. By making fairy tails my darker, but also stranger and more twisted it does offer something new and fresh. However at times I felt as thought the cinematography and visuals overshadowed much of the rested the film. However I would definitely say that it well worth a watch, particularly on the cinema’s big screen.