Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Maniacs are afraid of maniacs.

I have a daughter. I love her very much.

And if someone were ever to wrong her, well, I'm not sure what I'm going to be able to do about it. I mean, I don't have a very particular set of skills. I'm all for revenge, sure, and would surely want blood, but I don't even own a gun. I don't have a lot of knives, and only have two functioning hammers. Shit, I don't have any duct tape, let alone a basement to house the perpetrator in, duct taped or otherwise. But I'm not completely hopeless. There's one thing I actually do have.

I do have a dad.
I'm pretty sure Tarantino saw this on the January 1st.
Big Bad Wolves is one of those movies that somehow everyone has seen despite it not really starring anyone overly famous. I had initially heard about the film last year on Twitter, but avoided any further spoilers in the months that followed (all told, that wasn't so hard to do). While I had all intentions of eventually seeing it, it took a random text from an old friend to finally give me that final kick in the ass. His description?

'F'd up drama suspense and intense'


What Dunphy boiled down to a few words, I'm going to belabor into many more. Primarily set over the course of just a few days, 2013's Big Bad Wolves is a deceptively simple revenge flick. After the brutal kidnapping and death of his daughter, a man kidnaps not only the suspected killer, but also the police officer who inadvertently botched his arrest. This guy is no nonsense, and with so little left to live for he is willing to just about anything for whatever justice he can muster. Actually, it's not even justice that he ultimately wants. It's something a lot more personal that that.

While I've enjoyed watching piece of shit bad guys get it, I was never quite at ease watching the torture-fest that is Big Bad Wolves. Oh, believe you me, there was a point where I was damn near giddy at the proceedings (more on that later), but for the most part, I didn't have enough information to really lap up the nastier bits of this Israeli thriller. In fact, that's my main gripe with this flick. It's intense as shit, sure, and the performances are uniformly excellent (especially from the ones inflicting the pain), but the bad guy never really comes off that bad. Maybe that's the point, but for my money I want to really f--king hate the guy if I'm going to watch him get destroyed for an hour and a half, not potentially feel bad for him. That's no fun.

Also not fun, are the Yays and Boos. They're pretty sure this is only Israeli film we've ever seen, but I'm thinking that You Don't Mess with the Zohan counts, right? That shit was pretty much a documentary, I mean. It certainly wasn't a comedy...

  • That slo-motion game of hide-n-seek  was beautiful. And creepy.
  • The two 'dirty guys' were awesome. The only problem with them? I wanted more.
  • The yellow-card conversation. That's the kind of parenting I'd like to get down with.
  • Though it would help if I was a giant Israeli man. Holy shit, that was a big man (the Boss Guy). I loved how he basically fired Cop Guy, then told him to go solve the case.
  • If I ever acquire a gun, and I'm totally okay with killing the person in front of me, I'm going to do what they did here. Ask a question, fire my pistol. Add a bullet. Ask a question, fire my pistol. Add a bullet. Ask a get the idea.
  • Was that Buddy Holly? Excellent choice either way. Definitely music to bake to.
  • I also enjoyed how when the interrogation scene first started, he gave the his prisoner two choices. Both ended with death. Seems fair.
  • Speaking of, the whole interrogation scene, essentially the bulk of the movie, is really, really intense. While some of the violence made me squirm...
  • ...shit got cranked to 11 when Grampa shows up. Unbelievable. Fire, you say?
  • And finally, while some people are going to say that this is a comedy, or at least has comedic elements, my vote is that's a bit of a stretch. But there was one moment that totally cracked me up. About three-quarters through the torture, the Cop Guy comes up with a plan to buy them both some time. He tells the bad guy (with ten broken fingers and no toenails, at this point), without a hint of sarcasm, to finally give up the crucial information. But, you know, take some pain first
Never has the world needed Stanley Yelnats more than this moment.
  • Sorry, I have no idea who's who, but Bad Guy? Well, I have a few problems with this dude. First, he's a teacher. Not cool.
  • Second? He never really breaks. Ever. I mean, buddy, you're shit is totally f--ked. Just spill it, Israeli George Costanza. Get it over with.
  • And on the off chance this guy ever did get away, take a little advice from my man Rust Cohle: If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself.
  • Even though it's done in probably the classiest way possible, the scene when they find the girl is just awful. I honestly can't shake that image. Both of them...if you know what I mean.
  • Like I said, the torture gets pretty messy. At one point, I think I actually looked away. Thank God Netflix didn't send out accompanying scratch-n-sniff cards when you fire this one up. I still like BBQ.
  • But as much as I was physically upset by what I was seeing, well, ol' Bad Guy plays it cool. Like, impossibly cool. He's either the worst actor or toughest sonuva bitch on this planet. Either way? It's a Boo.
  • The end. For a flick that really didn't give us any hard evidence the entire f--king time, to drop that final frame on us seemed like a bit of a raw deal. 
  • And finally, the hype. It's a good film, sure. But head into this one with Best Film of the Year level expectations, and you're bound to be disappointed. Figuratively bound, anyway.
Well, that will do it for 2014 at Two Dollar Cinema. Hopefully next year will be even better. And by that, obviously I mean remotely passable. 

And you ladies that actually go out and celebrate balls dropping and such? Take special care of yourselves tonight. Unless Liam Neeson is your dad. 

Or your grandfather.


  1. Never even heard of this one. Sounds like sadistic fun. Btw, not breaking a rule since I had no plans on ever seeing this. Ya know, the whole not knowing it exists thing.

    No, Zohan was not a comedy by any sensible definition.

    Ladies that celebrate balls dropping? Great to end the year on a hilarious note.

    1. Nice call on the technicality. I'm with you there. I wouldn't whole-heartedly recommend it, but it'll hold your interest. Though...full took me three nights to get through it. Damn holidays wore me out.

      Zohan! I actually remember not hating that movie. But I am getting old.

  2. Holy crap ... is that LIAM FREAKING NEESON? I haven't seen him in years, apparently. God help me, I feel old.

    I'd never heard of this movie, and it doesn't sound exactly like my cup of tea. But "F'd up drama suspense and intense" usually piques my interest, too.

    Oh, and no comment on the balls dropping thing. :-) Happy New Year, M!

    1. Ha. No! That's not Neeson. At least not the American version...of the Irish version. Anyway, I just mentioned Neeson because that's the first person I think of if a daughter is in peril. These guys also fall into that vein of please do not f--k with them.

      Happy New Year to you and yours. Try not to work so much this year, huh?

  3. Saw this ages ago but the ending was pretty much the "bad guys" place where he had a secret room right? I still remember that and I remember feeling angry about it.
    For me, the "bad guy" was a bad guy but I liked the fact that you didn't really know it during the torture. It sort of played with the whole idea of "who's actually bad". Is it the guy who did a bad thing clearly because he is twisted in his head or is it the guy who results to violence and torture because of revenge. It does make you wonder, this one, and I love that about it.

    1. That damn ending.

      You make an excellent point about 'who are the real bad guys?' - which is an underlying theme in all torture flicks I suppose, but something I really didn't even consider while watching (I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed).

      Even with that said, I felt like the constant uncertainty about the bad buy actually takes away from whether we're concerned with the idea that they're going too far. Sure, either way it's nuts what they're doing, but if he's guilty, a part of me thinks 'f--k it', you know? At least while I'm watching a movie anyway...

  4. Gotta love that Rust Cohle quote. I've never heard of this film, but that first picture looks really, really creepy.

    1. There is definitely some creepy shit here. There's a bit with a real estate agent that was made me squirm...and it was weapon and torture free!

  5. This sounds intense...these torture porn flicks aren't always my cup of tea, but I may need to check this one out. I'm fortunate to have a bestie who weighs near 300 pounds of pure muscle and owns a long-sword (not joking), so any boys mess with my girls and their dead, literally.

    1. I wish I had a massive, sword-owning best friend.

      That would be f--king awesome.