Say what you will about Quentin Tarantino, but when he speaks, film lovers listen. When Tarantino recently proclaimed Big Bad Wolves as the best film of the year (so far), the already highly anticipated film immediately became a must see title at Toronto After Dark. Regardless of what you make of his “best of…” proclamation you have to give the man credit, he knows how to bring attention to great films that might have otherwise flown under the radar. Big Bad Wolves is one of those film.
A tense psychological thriller, Big Bad Wolves lives in that murky area where the only thing that separates good from evil is perspective. The story is centered around the disappearance and murder of a young girl who was last seen playing hide-and-seek with her friends. Early on in the film we see a reckless cop, Miki (Lior Ashkenazi), violently interrogating the man, Dror (Rotem Keinan), he suspects of the crime. When video of the abuse goes viral, it makes waves in both of the men’s given professions. Miki is suspended and Dror, a teacher, is forced to take a temporary leave of absence. The video also brings Dror to the attention of the missing girl’s father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad).
Unable to shake his obsession with solving the case, Miki plots to kidnap Dror and extract the truth from of him. Unfortunately, Gidi beats him to the punch and snatches both Miki and Dror. After convincing Miki that they are in pursuit of the same thing, the duo set out to get the answers they are looking for at all costs. However, neither man seems willing to face the most important question…what if Dror is telling the truth about having nothing to do with the murder?
Big Bad Wolves features everything you want in a top notch thriller. The performances are tight, the atmosphere tense, the humour gleefully dark, and the visuals are simply stunning. Directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado craft a film that, while straightforward in design, keeps you on the edge of your seat. You are constantly questioning both the characters and their actions. Part of this is due to the fact that Keshales and Papushado only give us so much to go on.
Aside from voices over the phone, there is very little we know of the men’s personal lives. In fact, outside of a throwaway line regarding someone alleging to have seen Dror with a child, there is nothing concrete to explain why Miki and Gidi are so focused on him. Keshales and Papushado keep their cards close to the vest but it would have been nice if they had left a few more crumbs. Regardless it is hard not to love what the directors achieve with this film. It is a film that makes you squirm in your seats one moment and then has you laughing out loud the next.
Big Bad Wolves is an astounding and darkly funny thriller that is expertly crafted. It is a must see film that will have you guessing right to the very end.