I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch Big Bad Wolves; I didn’t even know it was an Israeli film until I read the back of the box. Sometimes it’s fun to not know what’s coming in any way shape for form, and this film was one case where I was glad to be completely in the dark as it began.
In the most simple of terms, Wolves is the story of a cop working outside the law and a father out for revenge trying to get a man they believe to be a pedophile serial killer to confess.
This is an extremely well written and acted film. From the opening shot Big Bad Wolves engages the viewer with a tone that is reminiscent to a Coen Brothers film. There’s even a scene where I guy is digging his own grave in the forest that is absolutely an homage to Miller’s Crossing. But most of this film doesn’t take place in the forest. Most of it takes place in a basement.
The father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad), has the suspect, Dror (Rotem Keinan), a bible studies teacher, is strapped to a chair in his basement. His plan is to torture Dror until he tells Gidi where his daughter’s head is. The cop, Micki (Lior Ashkenazi), is there to help, but begins to second guess himself as to whether Dror is guilty or not. This is also the biggest quandary for the viewer. We have not been given any clues regarding Dror’s guilt. If he is guilty we don’t mind so much the horrible things these two men have planned for him. However, if he’s innocent, what they are doing is unforgivable. Then things take a strange turn when Gidi’s father, Yoram (Doval’e Glickman), shows up.
To say anymore would be to say too much, I may have said too much already. Wolves has a great slow build that leaves you wondering what is going to happen next every step of the way. It’s a very intense movie, but it is also very funny at times. It is a dark, dark film; all of this adding to that Coen Brothers feel.
The acting is great. Keinan plays Dror perfectly. You really don’t know until the very end if he is guilty or not. Grad is fantastic as Gidi, his subtle comic timing couldn’t be better. The humor is very dark and he walks the line well. The comedy, dark as it is, is only improved when Glickman comes on screen and Yoram joins the situation. Apparently Glickman is a huge name in Israeli comedy and even if you’ve never heard of him, as I’m sure most Americans haven’t, you can still tell that he’s a big deal. When he shows up in the film he takes over every scene he’s in.
Big Bad Wolves is a dark film, will many uncomfortable moments as well as comedic ones. It’s by no means a comedy, but you’ll laugh as much as you’ll squirm. This film might not be for everyone, but anyone who gives it chance is sure to enjoy it.
The film is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround sound. It is in Hebrew with English subtitles. This is a great looking and sounding film. The score fits the film perfectly and it’s very well shot.
You get a Behind the scenes: (15 min.) that is very informative as well as AXS TV: A Look at Big Bad Wolves (5 min.) which is a shorter version of the same thing and the trailer.
If you’re a fan of the Coen Brothers, then odds are very high that you’ll like this unique Israeli film. It’s dark, twisted and manages to be funny at times as well. It’s tense story that is very well acted. Directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado may not be brothers, but they work very well together and I can’t wait to see what they make next.
Magnet Releasing presents Big Bad Wolves. Written and Directed by: Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. Starring: Lior Ashkenazi, Rotem Keinan, Tzahi Grad and Doval’e Glickman. Running time: 110 min. Rating: Not Rated. Released: April 22, 2014.
Tags: Coen Brothers