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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Thriller > Murder > Israel > Big Bad Wolves (2013/Magnolia/MagNet Blu-ray)

Big Bad Wolves (2013/Magnolia/MagNet Blu-ray)

Picture: A Sound: A Extras: B- Film: B

Big Bad Wolves is a 2013 Israeli thriller that was hailed by the God of Movies himself, Quentin Tarantino, as the Best Film of the Year, which was enough to get me interested. While it is a mesmerizing and entertaining cat and mouse guessing game from frame one it is certainly flawed, primarily in its last frames. The film is grounded in realism and deals with a Father trying to cope with the grisly rape and murder of his young daughter by the hands of a creepy Religious Studies Teacher who is about as evil as the Devil himself. A vigilante Police Detective named Micki (Lior Ashkenazi) who is forced to operate outside the boundaries of the law to seek truth is our protagonist who will stop at nothing to find the killer behind bars after a Police Blunder (a leaked Youtube clip of Cops furiously beating the rapist) costs him his job. The film is beautifully shot and composed and features breathtakingly twisted sequences that pit the audience in the uncomfortable mind of a killer.

The scary thing about this film is that it could happen in any neighborhood. The suspected killer Dror (Rotem Keinan) is a normal-looking man to whom you would never suspect to be responsible for crimes of this nature. He has a daughter and uses that as a alibi to cover his dark secrets. Even after a relentless series of beatings and torture, the Killer never confesses to a single thing and is intelligent enough to shake the main characters to their very core, making them question their moral and practical beliefs.

After the apprehension and initial beating of Dror by a Police Team in an attempt to discover the location of a kidnapped girl, an unknown caller tells them of the location of the girl's headless body in a field. The Girl's Father Gidi (Tzahi Grad), himself a retired military man, also suspects Dror of his involvement and plans to kidnap him in an attempt to avenge the death of his daughter. Though paths cross when Micki apprehends Dror in an exhilarating chase sequence that leads to Gidi getting the upper hand on both Dror and Micki as he kidnaps and keeps them both in his newly purchased and isolated cabin that is off the maps. Micki and Gidi for a moment team up in an attempt to beat and torture Dror until he tells them the location of the murdered girl's head. Things get more complex when Micki is fooled by the tortured Dror. and Gidi's Father pays them an unexpected visit during the beatings.

The final act forces us to wonder who is the real villain? The serial rapist or the Father who will stop at nothing to get the answers that he so desires? We also discover that Micki's own daughter has gone missing during ballet practice which prompts him more than ever to find out the truth behind Dror. The ending, which I won't spoil, is as thought provoking as it is sad. This is not a happy story but a toe-nail ripping, finger smashing romp that keeps you guessing and doubting yourself at every turn. If you are a fan of films like 2013's Prisoners then you should definitely give this film a watch.

The 1080p digital high definition transfer on the disc with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio is crisp and clear with beautifully dark and saturating tones that enforce the intensity of the subject matter. From the contrasting stone walls of Gidi's underground torture room to the pastel colors of the playground where Dror ponders his next move are expertly executed. Backed up by a glorious DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix in Hebrew and English. Subtitles are also available on the disc in English SDH, English, Spanish, and French.

Extras include Making of Big Bad Wolves, AXS TV: A Look at Big Bad Wolves, and the Theatrical Trailer. I would have liked a commentary track or maybe some deleted scenes but overall Magnet has done a fantastic job with this release. Recommended.

- James Lockhart



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