In a word: Wow. In modern-day Israel, an ex-cop has kidnapped the schoolteacher suspect in the killing of the officer’s young daughter. He has taken the suspect to a makeshift torture chamber at a country house near Tel Aviv, where he’s going to roll up his sleeves and get to work forcing a confession. But first he has to deal with an ambivalent partner – a suspended officer also on the case, who is in on the torture plan but has increasing reservations about it. This second film from writer-directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado after their noted 2010 horror film Rabies is twisty, morbid and, despite occasionally horrific material, often quite drily funny. The Buddy Holly song Everyday is used in a particularly quirky way. The film’s dark sense of humour as well as a victim of torture intent on talking his way out of the ordeal sets this film apart from the otherwise similar critical and commercial hit, Prisoners. But the genius of the filmmakers is that, despite the flashes of humour, the wit never ever plays at the expense of the film’s well-tooled mechanics as an absorbing thriller with a finale that will drop the temperature of the cinema considerably. Warning: The film has moments of implied and gruesome violence against children. Suspects don’t fare well either.
At VIFF: Oct. 5, 11:30 pm, Rio; Oct. 6, 1:40 pm, International Village