“Big Bad Wolves”
I didn’t think that you could attempt, let alone make, a rather comical, offbeat film about pedophilia, kidnap, and torture but here we are and in its own bizarre way it’s actually quite good. Big Bad Wolves is set in Israel with a policeman called Micki (Lior Ashkenazi) attempting to find a child killer whom he believes to be Dror (Rotem Keinan). However, after being thrown off the case, Micki takes justice into his own hands only to be kidnapped along with Dror by the father of the latest victim Gidi (Tzahi Grad) who aims to extract the whereabouts of his daughter’s head from the man he believes to be his daughter’s killer.
I’ve watched some rather odd films before but this has to be one of the more unusual concepts I’ve encountered. However, it really works but if you are not a fan of extremely dark comedy and if you are squeamish then I really would not recommend watching this one because you’ll either vomit everywhere or pass out. This film doesn’t shy away from the darker side of humanity with some rather gruesome torture scenes that I found hard to stomach and I thought I was utterly desensitised to brutality.
But if you ignore the outlandish concept of the film it’s still rather good. The dialogue is sharp and exceptionally well written. The characters are also for the most part relatable apart from those who are supposed to be terrifying but they remain entertaining and quite witty. The writers also achieve something quite exceptional by portraying all sides of the conflict as victims and the villain at the same time. We’re presented with the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of every character along with their evil aspects in equal measure. This seems to indicate that the film is more an exploration of human nature and how far people will go to get closure than anything else.
However, it is by no means a perfect piece. There is a massive overuse of several clichés of films from the modern era. Slow motion shots seem to be this director’s fetish, that or he’s a long lost relative of Zack Snyder because not only do they make up the first five minutes of the film but they just turn up over and over again. Also, as the title alludes, the film is a kind of modern fairy-tale with a dark twist with the villainous men being the Big Bad Wolves. However, the fairy-tale imagery is far from subtle and does eventually get a little irritating in its pervasiveness.
This film does seem to tread a fine line between an exceptionally smart psychological thriller and what could be seen as torture porn masquerading as a far less offensive tale of vengeance. I’m fairly sure that it falls into the first category simply because of the twists and turns that the plot takes. There is no conventional villain or hero with every character capable of good and bad acts and the filmmaker doesn’t seem to take any pleasure in the actions or outcome of the tale. So, if you want a haunting yet somehow light-hearted look at revenge and hatred then I think this might be the ideal film for you.