Big Bad Wolves (Keshales & Papushado, 2013)

What's it about? When a young girl is kidnapped, raped and murdered, her vengeful father (Tzahi Grad) and a rogue cop (Lior Ashkenazi) are both convinced the culprit is a quiet teacher (Rotem Keinan). What better way to get him to confess than torturing him?

Is it any good? So, torture, child-killing, paedophilia. Funny stuff, eh? That's what is attempted here in this Grimmly funny Fairy tale, in which the directors use some jet black humour to offset the nastier elements of the tale. It doesn't quite work, although there's moments that will make you both chuckle and wince ; the obvious comparison is the ear-slicing scene in Reservoir Dogs and it comes as no surprise to hear Quentin Tarantino championed this film as the best of 2013. However, the problem lies in the poorly drawn characters, whose actions are not entirely credible or logical. As the audience, we don't have enough information about the guilt/innocence of the suspect, nor do we really get a handle on the motivations of his torturers. As a result, the tension is less than it should be, when it could have been a very claustrophobic and uncomfortable audience guessing game indeed. Instead, it's little more than a spin on the torture porn genre, with less substance than I expected from an Israeli film in which (it is implied) everyone has learned about interrogation techniques from their military service. Despite the directors' assertion that it draws inspiration from a culture of persecution and vengeance in Israeli society, it's not satirical or provocative enough to score any political points. In the end, Big Bad Wolves huffs and puffs a lot, but it won't blow you away.

I don't trust you. What do others think? Reasonably well received, with comparison made to the superficially similar, but more serious Prisoners. I was more interested in the views of my old friends, the Three Little Pigs, so I met up with them in a local bar. We were only there for a quick drink, but one of them, the one who thought it would be sensible to build a house of straw, was throwing pints into him like it was going out of fashion. "Go easy", says I, "otherwise you'll be going wee-wee-wee all the way home".

What does the Fonz think? My, what big ambition you have!

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