starring Tzahi Grad, Llor Ashkenazi, Rotem Keinan, Dov Glickman
written and directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado
by Walter Chaw A winning, stylish mixture of black humour, perversion, and character study, Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's Big Bad Wolves presents a popular moral quandary in a way that would make Park Chan-wook proud. Indeed, it would fit comfortably in a conversation with that director's "Vengeance Trilogy" as a companion piece in theme, even execution, to Sympathy for Lady Vengeance that finds a father and a rogue police officer brutally torturing an unassuming schoolteacher because they both suspect he's responsible for the death of a little girl. With the question of guilt beside the point, the real thrust of the piece is the toll that some actions take on the soul, no matter why they're undertaken. Crucially, it's not a product of the United States or South Korea, two cultures married to a specific kind of morally relativistic nightmare that have produced films like this for years, but of an Israeli movie industry that marks this as only their second "horror" release. (The first, incidentally, was a product of this same writing-directing team: 2010's Kalavet.) For an Israeli thriller to tackle the issue of the zero sum game of rendition and torture without due process feels dangerous--particularly with the ancillary character of an Arab man on horseback who is wry, handsome, and utterly normal, nay, the only normal one in the entire film.