REVIEW: Big Bad Wolves (2013)

To welcome the new year with brutality that will make you choke on your laughter, the Glasgow Film Theatre screened Big Bad Wolves from Jan 2-4. I couldn’t resist and had to take a look for myself.

big bad wolvesWhen Quentin Tarantino claims a film to be the best not only of Busan International Film Festival, but of entire 2013, and this very film screens at the Glasgow Film Theatre for three days in early 2014 – well, then any devoted Tarantino-follower would do the same as me: go see it. I’m talking about, of course, Israeli picture Big Bad Wolves (2013).

After Israel’s first ever horror film Rabies (2010), Big Bad Wolves is the second film co-written and co-directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. Following the abduction and brutal execution of several little girls, an affected father (Tzahi Grad as Gidi) and a vigilante cop (Lior Ashkanazi as Miki) take the law into their own hands and follow up on the case’s prime suspect (Rotem Keinan as Dror). Caught up in the thick mist of grief, accusation, revenge and insanity the three men indistinguishably turn into big bad wolves.


Lulling the spectator into a warm blanket of children’s memory, Keshales and Papushado introduce the story in a von Trier-like poetic exposition. Accompanied by an eerie composition of Frank Ilfman – who orchestrated the film’s haunting soundtrack – the opening sequence shows three children playing hide-and-seek. Reluctantly the camera follows two girls into an abandoned building, sluggishly crawling after them, lingering over their faces and hide-outs. A girl in a red dress disappears into a cabinet, leaving only her shoe to find. The sinister combination of childlike innocence and brutal horror peaks when the police finds the girl’s mutilated body.

But Big Bad Wolves is more than a dark fairy tale. The script picks its twists and turns from across the genres – is it an insane psycho thriller, a grim comedy, political criticism or social satire? Keshales and Papushado rush their audience through an emotional range that Tarantino could not have accomplished better. Heads up!

Watch the trailer here.

images via imdb (Magnet Releasing & Tribeca Film Festival)


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