The Oscar nominated Argentine film "Wild Tales" compiles six hilarious and visceral shorts by writer-director Damián Szifron that cut to the heart of the modern condition.

They vary in tone and style but revolve around the reality that savagery and disorder are just a shade away from taking hold in even the most "civilized" of societies.

This makes for a thrilling, great time at the movies, as the filmmaker conjures frenetic spectacles unified by bursts of audacious comic violence.

Passengers on a plane come to realize they've been brought together for a sinister reason; a burst of road rage has nasty consequences; workers at a diner plot elaborate revenge on a customer.

The locations vary, including a countryside roadway adjacent to a bridge, a hotel ballroom and the streets of Buenos Aires, but in each the modern spaces feel contained and claustrophobic, the glossy qualities disguising the darkness pulsating throughout.

Each segment is a marvel of narrative economy, with the filmmaker's satirical eye trained on the sort of everyday annoyances that could theoretically provoke the unhinged aggression that defines the movie.

The film might best be regarded as the dark cousin to "Seinfeld" or "Curb Your Enthusiasm," where the usual emotions spurred by social faux pas and other mundane aggravations such as a car being towed inspire something deeper and more sinister in the people subjected to them.

The most important thing to understand about "Wild Tales," one of the biggest hits in the history of its country and up for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, is that it's really fun. You don't need to be Argentine to get it; you simply must be a citizen of the world.