Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Film Review: Big Bad Wolves (2013)

Big Bad Wolves (Review)
Israel/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a must watch films for fans of the genre."

After a string of vicious child murders, Micki (Lior Ashkenazi), a cop, teams up with Gidi (Tzahi Grad), the father of the latest victim, to interrogate Dror (Rotem Keinan), a school teacher and the primary suspect...

Dark and relentless, Big Bad Wolves is a straightforward thriller with a very disturbing subject. The story follows Micki, who becomes a vigilante early on, as he attempts to extract information from Dror, the one and only suspect. All while Dror suffers from the stigma of being labeled a subject in such a case. Eventually, Micki crosses paths with Gidi, and they team up for a "special" type of interrogation -- and by "special", I mean brutal torture. The latter half of the story consists of this brutal torture; some breathing room is given through its use of black humor. The ending is devastating -- it's dark and breathtaking.

I like to think of Big Bad Wolves as a blend of 2012's The Hunt and 2013's Prisoners with a pinch of Tarantino's signature humor. The story is dark and sinister, and the humor is just as black. But, the humor does help liven the film up a bit, and will likely make the film more tolerable for those not accustomed to the dark side of cinema. Regardless, this is my cup of tea -- exactly the type of films I love -- the type of film that can make you uncomfortable yet laugh out loud at the same time. The fact the film dared to enter taboo territory was enough to interest me, but the masterful execution kept me hooked. The meticulously-crafted balance of thrills, shocks, and humor also kept me thoroughly invested.

The acting is fantastic. Tzahi Grad really steals the show with his performance, and I thought Rotem Keinan was great, as well. The film is shot beautifully; I thought the cinematography was great in the basement scenes. The use of music is superb; some of the music sounds like horror music for a fairytale adaptation, and it was fantastic; the soundtrack was also well used in creating some of the black humor. Directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado carefully craft this sinister film; it has pinches of Scorsese and Tarantino, but also manages to have a distinct style.

Overall, Big Bad Wolves is an amazing film. It's shocking in both subject and visuals. And, it has a familiar pinch of black humor that adds to this film's distinct style. I was thoroughly entertained, and I was equally shocked -- this is a must watch films for fans of the genre. I only wish it took just a little more time to develop the situation -- it kind of just drops you in there.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, including sequences of torture.

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