Dark and disturbingly captivating the directors of Big Bad Wolves Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado flirt with a Quentin Tarantino type style to create a multi-layered thriller that’s pointedly chilling in every sense of the word.
Much like Tarantino, Keshales and Papushado push the boundaries of comfort to tell the story of one grieving father’s torment. Having lost his child Gidi (Tzahi Grad) is determined to have not only justice, but to retrieve the head of his beloved daughter from the man who abducted, raped and beheaded her (amongst other lurid acts including the breaking of all her fingers).
Things get even more macabre when newly appointed traffic cop Micki (Lior Ashkenazi) loses his position as a detective after jepardising the case with his off-the-book ways of persuasion. His bitterness over his demotion leads him down a regretful path.
A dull note of sympathy rings throughout the film for Dror (Rotem Keinan) the accused who is adamant he didn’t commit the crime. Keinan’s performance is captivating, as Dror’s seemingly earnest nature cast heavy shadows over his supposed guilt.
Grad does justice to the role of the distraught father pushed to despair and acts of extreme violence in a desperate attempt to right wrongs and make sense of the truth.
With every surprising turn of events Keshales and Papushado coat each complex layer of the narrative in a dark, bloody gloss.
The ripping of toenails and a blowtorch to the chest are among the eye-wateringly cringing scenes that beg you to look away whilst holding your attention in a trance-like way. However it is in the crisp tension that the real action can be found. Keshales and Papushado are brilliant at raising your blood pressure and leading you to the edge only to have you tottering there for a while wondering when you’ll fall into the next grisly act of passionate violence.
The stunning juxtaposition of light-hearted elements with the bloody, nightmarish violence – such as the cheesy ringtone that sounds at a moment of tensity – adds a darkly comical touch whilst heightening the tension.
Where the film falls short is nowhere. A brilliant exploration of grief executed in ghoulishly spectacular way.
Bleak, cruel and brutally beautiful Big Bad Wolves promises no happy endings but rather a satisfying watch.