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Big Bad Wolves

Canadian Premiere
  • Israel
  • 2013
  • 110 mins
  • DCP
  • Hebrew
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, Stanley Film Festival 2013

“Grippingly suspenseful… fiendishly clever… mesmerizing from start to finish” – Frank Scheck, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“A unique and dark and disturbingly left-field film well worth attention” – Mark Adams, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

A young girl goes missing in the woods. She’s soon found, very much dead and upsettingly devoid of her head, the latest victim in a string of terrible child murders plaguing the town. A disgruntled vigilante cop named Miki (Lior Ashkenazi) is absolutely certain that he knows who is responsible, and that person-of-more-than-interest is Dror (Rotem Keinan), a timid and socially awkward schoolteacher. The cop pays off a pair of thugs to savagely beat the teacher in the hopes of getting a confession out of him, but that plan backfires spectacularly and a viral video of the ultimate example of decidedly un-civic police brutality tears across Israel, costing Miki his job. Now, all bets are off.

Described in its official marketing as ”a brutal comedy for a mad mad mad mad world”, this freakish, genre-bending tale of vengeance and fury is one of the best films you will see anywhere this year. The synopsis above was carefully written to spoil as few of the film’s dark twists as possible, just know that it blossoms out into something very different from anything that plot breakdown might have you expecting. Smartly crafted with style to burn and shot through with the blackest of humour, BIG BAD WOLVES shocks, surprises, disturbs and provokes like few films do, all the while functioning as an enormously captivating thriller. With only their second feature film work, following 2011’s Fantasia favourite RABIES, co-directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado have honed their skills to scorching perfection. The sophistication, audacity and sheer force of execution on display here announces them as leading talents on the world cinema stage and will have many declaring them the Israeli Coen Brothers — with shades of early Park Chan-wook and Brian De Palma! No wonder it ranked among the best-reviewed entries of this year’s Tribeca film festival, where it left audiences positively gobsmacked.

BIG BAD WOLVES toys with its audience from the opening frames, every line, shot, move and cut calculated with an enthusiasm that lets you know you’re in the hands of people with a profound love of cinema. A wickedly engrossing exercise in tension and violence carpeted with landmines of explosive political allegory, WOLVES crackles with the excitement of watching a brilliant pair of filmmakers at the absolute top of their game. It will knock the wind out of you.

Fantasia 2013 - Big Bad Wolves from Fantasia Film Festival on Vimeo.

— Mitch Davis