The will to power: So much of how Fredrich Nietzsche described our behavior and in fact our entire meaning of existence as revolving around this idea.

And nowhere is this idea, which counters the rationality, more prominent than in "Wild Tales," the new film by Argentine Damian Szifron.

How else could you ever explain the scenario in which a man, who has just destroyed a rival's car (a rival who has tried to kill him), decides that instead of running to safety in his own car, he is going to do a U-turn just so he could run over said rival, thus putting himself into danger? Or how do you explain a man deciding to call off a series of deals to save his son's life and his own name because he felt that others were getting the better of him in the negotiations? Or a man feeling that the only way to right society's wrongs is through an act of terrorism?

Power. The entire film is brimming with different displays of it and people's reactions. In the opening pre-credit segment "Pasternak," a series of passengers on a flight realize that they were all in control of the mysterious Pasternak's fate at some point in his life, but none of them used this power for creation but for destruction. And ironically, once they come to terms with this connection, they realize that the roles have been reversed and that now their lives are in control of the man they did so much harm to.

Role reversal also plays a role in the second story, "The Rats," in which a waitress at a lonely restaurant in the middle of nowhere realizes that the man who she is serving was the reason for her entire family's ruin. But here revenge becomes more of a tricky proposition as the girl does not know how to take action. She is asked by her co-worker, the cook, to put rat poison in the man's food, but she questions whether she has the right to take someone's life. The cook claims that she needs to seize that authority and so comes a fascinating game of cat and mouse not only in the restaurant, but also in the kitchen.

Then we get an action film, "The Strongest," in all its exaggerated glory with two men engaged in a literal battle of wills because one made a racist comment toward the other while they were driving on the highway. Encapsulated in this film is a battle between classes, with each looking constantly to one-up the other and never being satisfied with just having the upper hand. Only total destruction will do, and only a "crime of passion" can be its conclusion.

The fourth film "Bombita," which starts Argentine legend Ricardo Darin, showcases a demolitions worker for the city who feels wronged by that very institution. So he sets out to get what he perceives as justice and continually finds the system taking him down. His life falls apart, and the only way to react to such injustice is the only way he knows -- destruction.

The fifth part "The Proposal," tells the story of a young teenager who in his drunken state runs over a pregnant woman, effectively killing her. In order to save his son from jail, and by extension his own reputation, a wealthy man starts looking for ways to buy himself out of the mess but constantly finds others trying to renegotiate the terms to further their own interests. He is then faced with giving up all of his money (and by extension power) for his son's sake, or flipping the tables on his "friends" and sacrificing his son. 

And then finally we have a wedding sequence, "Until Death do us Part," in which the bride finds out that she is being displaced not only by her husband's co-worker but also by her own insecurity. What follows is the theme's most intense realization with the bride and her husband constantly looking to top one another in ways that move from the private to the public. Violence erupts and even in the sequence's memorable finale, the two characters have thrown any logical means of empowerment out the window and have embraced the real goal behind power -- pleasure.

Every single film looks at this idea of control from different angles with characters questioning the irrationality of this drive and others embracing it in its most chaotic and violent manner (see films one, three and four).

Even the credits, with one image of animals after another, embraces this notion that at our core, humans are irrational creatures that act on impulse and drive and not on reason.

This of course makes the form rather ironic. With a film called "Wild Tales," one would not have been surprised to find Szifron embrace the idea of a "hyperlink" with all the narratives intertwining endlessly and chaotically throughout. But by having each film play back-to-back in an "omnibus" structure, he has embraced a different kind of chaos -- keeping the audience unsteady. In a hyperlink structure, the audience would be forced to constantly link one thread to another intermittently but would at least get the benefit of feeling the rising crescendo from all the stories together. Instead, as structured, the audience feels a constant number of crescendos, highs and lows, keeping the viewer in a constantly shifting emotional state at the end of each film and start of the next one. It creates its own level of instability but also showcases a rather rigid structure that is a display of power and organization in and of itself.

Of course, maintaining each story isolated from the others also allows for the terrific comedy of each film to take full flight. There is no end to just how the craziness on screen draws the most hysterical of laughs from its viewers. Szifron even manages to get people to laugh in circumstances that should not be funny. (Case in point, it is impossible to hold back the laughs when an act of terrorism follows a woman complaining that only a tragedy will force the system to change.) There is a delight and yet a rather awkward feeling in these moments that adds to the chaotic nature of the narratives and outlook on human behavior.

The camera is beautifully placed throughout with a diversity of styles coming to the fore in each film. The wedding sequence will undoubtedly get the most praise for its dark imagery and its incessantly roving camera. "The Strongest" is favored by its quick and energetic cutting (early on the imagery is edited with the beats of a song), while there is more rigidity in the camera's positioning in "The Proposal" and "Pasternak." Speaking of the prologue, the final image with a plane in the distance slowly coming toward the camera is one of the most chilling moments of the entire film, making the audience feel the way audiences back in 1895 must of felt upon watching the Lumiere Brothers' "The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat." And it is also a stark reminder that in this day in age, 3D is not necessary in making viewers feel an object coming at them through the screen.

The acting is brilliant across the board with every actor slowly unraveling in every one of their films in a number of ways. You see the aggression of Darin's SImon Fischer burst through the otherwise cold exterior. You see Erica Rivas' increasingly explosive turn as Romina, the bride in the final film. Oscar Martinez remains calm and collected despite watching his world fall apart in "The Proposal," while the two men in "The Strongest, " Walter Donado and Leonardo Sbaraglia, give gruelingly physical turns. 

There is one final note that is lamentable to some. The film, which is in Spanish all the way through, remains comical with English subtitles but loses a lot of the nuance that makes it so joyful in Spanish. But that is the case with most foreign films anyways. It just hurts all the more in comedy. 

"Wild Tales" is such a diverse film in so many ways, and yet its numerous narratives are all connected by an overarching idea about human behavior -- despite our best desires, all of us are commanded by our deepest instincts for power and pleasure. The results of these base instincts can lead to true tragedy but also to fascinating comedy.