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Laramie Movie Scope:
Big Bad Wolves

Ultra dark comedy about torture and murder

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 22, 2014 -- This Israeli film about the interrogation of a murder suspect is very graphic in its depiction of torture to elicit a confession, but at the same time, it has its comic elements. Needless to say it pushes the boundaries of good taste. Some would say it pushes humor and taste right off the edge of a cliff.

The film is funny, but it is also deadly serious in its pursuit of the question of how far should a person go in an interrogation to find the truth. The film opens with a game of hide and seek with three children. One of the children hides in a closet in an abandoned house. She disappears. When police investigate, they find the headless body of the girl, who had been tortured and raped before being killed. This is just one of a series of related horrible crimes in the area.

Police suspect a teacher, Dror (played by Rotem Keinan) of the crime. In desperation, the police torture Dror in an effort to get him to confess. He insists on his innocence. A boy secretly records the harsh interrogation and puts the video on the Internet. Police are forced to release Dror and the detective in charge of the investigation, Micki (played by Lior Ashkenazi) is relieved of duty.

Micki decides to kidnap Dror and torture him, thinking that is the only way to get his job back and save the department's reputation, but there is another player in this game. The murdered girl's father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad) has the same idea, a former soldier and policeman, he has contacts who have told him about the suspect, Dror. Gidi is determined to find his daughter's missing head so she can be buried intact, an important element in Jewish burial rituals.

Micki reluctantly agrees to help Gidi torture Dror at a remote location, but Gidi goes too far in his torture and Micki can't allow it. Micki ends up as Gidi's prisoner, along with Dror, in a makeshift torture chamber in the basement of a house. Gidi is very determined to torture Dror in the same way he believes that Dror tortured the girls. Dror maintains his innocence, and doesn't act like a guilty man.

Gidi's gruesome torture sessions are repeatedly interrupted by calls from his mother. He tells his mother she can't visit because he is sick, so naturally she makes soup, and orders Gidi's father to deliver it. Many complications ensue, and some are funny. The real truth about what is going on is not revealed until the end of the film, and there are some plot twists. The story is well-written.

As dark comedies go, this is about as dark as it gets. The acting and stunt work are very solid. I had to look away from the screen at times during some of the more gruesome torture scenes. Some of this scenes look like they belong in a horror film. Fans of horror films like “Saw” will probably find this tame, but I am not a fan of such films. I can't say I enjoyed this, but the film is thought-provoking, occasionally funny, and it does raise some interesting moral questions. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)