Delivering on the promise of 2010’s ‘Rabies’, these Israeli filmmakers’ follow-up, ‘Big Bad Wolves’, is a bleakly funny mash-up comedy about child murder, corruption, torture and a siege mentality. ‘Maniacs don’t fear guns,’ says vigilante father Gidi, an ex-Israeli commando turned middle-aged businessman, ‘maniacs are afraid of maniacs.’ Which is why timid teacher and suspected child killer Dror finds himself strapped to a chair in a basement, having his fingernails ripped out.
The violence meted out to Dror echoes that visited on Gidi’s child. Corrupt cop Micki, earlier suspended from duty for his own robust interrogation of the suspect, is a semi-reluctant party to this extra-judicial process. Then Gidi’s blasé father, Yoram, arrives with healing chicken soup and his own very particular set of skills. The room is a moral vacuum, sucking up the torturers’ empathy and allowing only cruelty to breathe. ‘Big Bad Wolves’ requires a high tolerance for pain, but its wicked humour and oblique satire rip open Israel's paranoid, militarised system like a jagged saw blade.