Toronto After Dark finished up last night with the Israeli film Big Bad Wolves.
A film that is being considered for their official Academy Awards submission, and hailed as Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film of the year, it had a lot to prove to the closing night audience.
The film follows a cop, Miki (Lior Ashkenazi),and an angry father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad) and their brutal, and illegal, interrogation and torture of a serial killer, Dror (Rotem Keinan). Called intense, darkly comic and frightening, this one seemed like a great film to wrap up the festival with. In a festival that has had 9 nights of solid entertainment, to expect the festival to end on a stellar note was expected.
This one did not disappoint, by turns filled with laughs, misdirects, crackling dialogue, fantastic cinematography, and brutality this film totally takes you in.
Miki is a lot of fun, and after a YouTube video is released of him beating his suspect, he’s ousted from his case. But in typical genre fashion, that tends to be when he does his best work. He seizes Dror before Gidi can do the same thing. Gidi, however has prepared, he has a secluded house, with a sound proof basement, he has the tools he needs, including a rusty saw for decapitating Dror, as he promised to inflict every pain on him that Dror committed on his victims.
The two, Miki and Gidi, end up working together, trying to get Dror to give up the location of his vicitms’ (all young girls) heads. They even get some help from Gidi’s father in a comic but also very dark turn as he asks his son if he’s done the flame test yet. The effects in this sequence are amazing, and frighteningly realistic, you could feel the audience cringing, and then be completely disarmed by the follow-up dialogue.
I don’t want to give away any of the twists and turns, of which there are many, because they would detract from the overall enjoyment of the film, just know that this one is well worth the watch, and features nothing short of strong performances from everyone involved.
There is always a fantastic level of is he/is he not the killer, that leaves you guessing literally until the final frame of the film, enough to cause even his interrogators to wonder if he’s their man.
Paced and edited to perfection, the film has a beautiful score to augment it, and was the perfect film to wrap the festival with. The only thing I thought was missing was the gorgeous song used in the trailer, anyone know its name? I thought it may have worked perfectly over the end credits. And speaking of, I loved the opening credits sequence, with the game of hide and seek!
Finishing its 8th year, Toronto After Dark continues to prove itself the forefront of horror, sci-fi, genre and cult films, highlighting and screening amazing titles, ones that i may never have heard of without the minds behind the scenes.
What did you see After Dark? And what was your favourite?